Harnessing the ocean’s extraordinary energy potential is no easy feat. Though the seas are difficult to tame and have swallowed more than one piece of equipment, Israel has managed to reign in that rogue power with a modest size facility in Jaffa. But the real celebrities in the ocean energy movement, thanks to the superior strength of their tides and waves and longstanding research commitment, hail from the United Kingdom. Their marine might is so superior, in fact, that John Ross with The Scotsman says the uninhabited Stroma island in Northern Scotland has the potential to become the “Saudi Arabia” of renewable energy.
Island in the stream
Stroma, which means “island in the stream,” is situated smack dab in the middle of one of the world’s strongest tidal streams in the Pentland Firth. As such, it is the perfect site for wave and tidal energy projects.
“One of the world’s best marine resources, the Pentland Firth Strategic Area encompasses the Pentland Firth and the waters around Orkney, and takes in more than half the top ten tidal development sites in the UK,” according to Mr. Ross
“It provides an exploitable energy output potential estimated to be up to 10GW, or equivalent to several large nuclear power stations,” he added.
On Monday, a new Automatic Weather Station (AWS) will go “live” that will provide the most up to date weather records possible; this in turn will render renewable energy trials safer and more accurate.
Giant weather station
“The 30ft high AWS has been developed by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI), based in Thurso. Foundation work on the two-mile long island began in October 2009 and system trials were completed in early September,” Mr. Ross wrote.
Professor Stuart Gibb, director of ERI, told The Scotsman:
“This new weather station will give us a much better picture of the conditions in the area on an hourly basis. This in turn will be an excellent aid for research and also safety, as people can better judge when their activities take place there.”
Earlier this year, the Crown Estate added 1.2 GW of marine energy projects in the Pentland Firth, setting the stage for a new power.
:: The Scotsman
More cleantech news:
image via the tahoe guy