UK’s wave power hot spots found right on Scotland’s doorstep
THE UK’s best and most cost effective wave power “hot spots” sites are situated around 100 kilometres off the west coast of Scotland, new research has revealed.
• Research has revealed that UK’s prime wave power spots are in Scotland’s west coast
• Carbon Trust report says coast nearby Cornwall is next best spot
Capturing resources from Atlantic swells at these areas could cut wave power costs by 50 per cent, the report commissioned by the Carbon Trust, the first to predict the most suitable locations for developers to site wave energy arrays, said.
Researchers believe sites located off Scotland’s west coast (Lewis and Uist), Shetland and Orkney are the most economical areas in the UK. The second most viable area is off the coast of Cornwall.
The UK Wave Energy Report said the annual production at these sites would be the equivalent of the amount of electricity used in a year in Scotland.
The research also balances any future activity against the cost of exploitation, taking into account issues such as fishing grounds, shipping routes and possible effects on mammals such as whales and dolphins and other marine wildlife.
Dr Stephen Wyatt, head of technology acceleration at the Carbon Trust, said: “This new research identifies the major wave frontages for commercial development in the coming years.
“If we can continue to innovate to prove the technology at scale and to bring down costs, then there is every reason to believe that wave power can be providing a significant contribution to our energy needs out to 2050.”
Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said the “hot spotting” map could contribute to the Scottish Government target of meeting 100 per cent of gross annual electricity demand from renewables by 2020.
“This study underlines the potential for Scotland to literally rule the waves when it comes to harnessing the power of our seas.
“There are more wave power machines under test in Scottish waters than anywhere else in the world. Many of these have the potential to be of global significance in our efforts to tackle climate change and offer huge export benefits too.”
However, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said the prime sites were located in productive fishing grounds.
“Fishing, which contributes over £500m to the Scottish economy, is not an industry which can ‘just move’. We would press for see research concluding that the fish would not be displaced by the noise and electricity passed through cables from that distance.
“It is also worth noting that considerably less jobs are created by the renewable sector than there are in the fishing industry.”
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