The Islay Undersea Turbine Project

Islay, in the Hebrides, is famous for the malt whisky it produces in its small island of about three thousand two hundred inhabitants. It will now have a further claim to fame, as the site of the world’s first tidal array of ten underwater turbines which should generate more than sufficient electricity to power the island’s homes, leaving some left over for its industry, if the turbines work as expected.

The water around Islay has fast and reliable tidal currents and although the turbines will take some of the energy out of the currents, slowing them down, there is not expected to be any significant marine life impact as a result of the project.

Because this is a project that deploys a number of undersea turbines it may not work as expected and there may be problems that the engineers need to solve. This should not in any way detract from the real value of the Islay underwater turbine power plant. At best it will produce clean energy that is emission free for the whole island of Islay without any adverse environmental effect. At worse it will produce some energy and a great deal of knowledge about future undersea turbine projects.

I think that the Islay model is very much the future of undersea turbines. It is a modest project which does not involve dams, barrages or large constructions that can adversely affect the seas, coastlines or tidal estuaries. It concentrates on delivering local power, without the pretensions and dangers of massive projects which seem to capture the imagination of governments cost so much and deliver so little.

I have to commend the Scottish government, Scottish Power Renewables and the people of Islay and all those involved in the project.

Slange var, Islay.

2 Responses

  1. […] The Islay Undersea Turbine Project « Robert Kyriakides's Weblog […]

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