A prototype tidal energy turbine is to be built on the west coast of Scotland that will be the world's most advanced, claims the company that is to make the device. The $6.25 million contract has been won by Burntisland Fabrications*, a firm that used to manufacture equipment for the oil industry, but is now a leading light in the alternative energy scene, and the system should be up and running by 2013. As well as providing the islanders with electricity 23 hours a day, it will also be powering up Islay's eight whisky distilleries and malteries, three of which are owned by Diageo.
The 10 1MW turbines are to be place in the Sound of Islay, a small channel between two whisky-producing islands off the west coast of Scotland, Islay, and Jura. The developer of the HS1000 is Hammerfest Strom, a joint venture between several energy companies, including ScottishPower and Norway's Statoil. The turbine itself stands 22 meters high, not including the nacelle, which fixes it to the sea bed, and contains the control system, gearbox and generator.
This is the tenth scheme to get the green light in Scottish waters. As well as a mammoth project in the Pentland Firth, which separates the Orkneys from the north coast of Scotland and which, according to a government report, could generate 4GW of energy—enough to supply the whole of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
* Note to BP: this is how you mutate from being in the oil business to becoming a leading light in energy.