Sound of Islay application takes another step forward

June 3, 2014

IET welcomes the further progress in the Sound of Islay project by the request to Scottish Ministers that amended consent for the development be deemed to be granted.

Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) recently applied to Scottish Ministers for consent to construct an offshore demonstration tidal energy array in the Sound of Islay and associated onshore generating station with an installed capacity of 10 MW.  The purpose of this application is to amend the consent awarded to SPR by Scottish Ministers in March 2011 and requests that planning permission for the associated onshore development is deemed to be granted.

A copy of the application and related documentation is available for inspection in the IET offices and at the Argyll and Bute Council offices on Jamieson Street in Bowmore.

Anyone wishing to make representations regarding this application should do so by email to or by post to The Scottish Government, Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team, Marine Laboratory, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB.


May 22, 2014

The following press release was issued by the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society today.

PRESS RELEASE 22nd May 2014
The Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS) has successfully raised the £1.27 million needed for investment in its community wind project. £535,000 was raised by the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS) share offer which closed on 31st March, and the remaining £735,000 has been secured as a loan from the Scottish Government’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF). This is believed to be the first community wind project in Scotland to be part-funded by a community benefit society.
IECBS plans to install a single 330 kW Enercon E33 wind turbine, height 61 metres from ground to blade tip, on a site leased from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) located near Castlehill, Isle of Islay. On average, it will generate electricity equivalent to the yearly consumption of around 300 homes, and will save about 600 tonnes p.a. of CO2 emissions. 5 years of development work on the project was carried out by the Islay Energy Trust (IET), supported by Community Energy Scotland, the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) and Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), SNH and IET. The Big Lottery Fund also contributed through a grant for the cost of the grid connection upgrade..
The wind turbine is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of November 2014. When operational, the Project is expected to yield financial benefits for the community of £60-80,000 p.a., or up to £2.5million over the 20-year life of the project (allowing for inflation). The community benefit funds will be distributed by the Islay Energy Trust (IET) on Islay, Jura and Colonsay in accordance with its charitable objectives. These include development of more community-owned renewable energy projects, provision of advice on energy efficiency, and grants/loans for relief of fuel poverty and annual grants to local voluntary and charitable organisations.
Jenni Minto, Secretary of IECBS, said: “We are delighted with the fantastic response to the share offer. 80% of applications came from Islay, Jura and Colonsay residents, and the amount raised was well beyond our expectations. We are also very grateful to Scottish Enterprise which has provided the balance of the funding needed from the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF), and to all those organisations and people who supported the development work.”
Andrew Smith, head of REIF said: “This is a really exciting project which illustrates the potential for renewable energy in supporting local communities in more remote locations. In fact a key part of REIF’s remit is to support initiatives such as this, which offer support at a local level, while contributing to Scotland’s growing reputation as a global centre for the development of innovative technologies and projects in renewables”
Iona McDonald, Local Energy Scotland CARES Development Officer added, “We are delighted with this result of sustained hard work over several years by members of the Islay community, backed with support from CARES, and we look forward to seeing the wind turbine going up later this year.”
Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Kerrie Grant, Head of Strengthening Communites commented, ‘HIE is overjoyed that the support we have provided to Islay Energy Trust through account management over the past three years has resulted in the successful development of the IECBS andthe future delivery of a community wind turbine. This, together with a number of other projects currently being delivered by IET, will provide excellent benefits to the communities of Islay, Jura and Colonsay and contribute towards the sustainability of IET. Congratulations to all involved!’
Contact details:
Islay Energy Community Benefit Society
Tel: 01496 301413
For more information, visit

This follows a press release issued yesterday by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing:

Millions for renewable energy projects

New investment will boost green energy.

Scottish Enterprise has announced £3.5 million of new investment in Scotland’s growing renewable energy sector, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced today.

Four projects are being supported through the enterprise agency’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF).

  • Islay Energy Community Benefit Society will receive a £735k loan to install a community owned 330Kw turbine on the island, with the potential to power the equivalent of 300 homes.
  • Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation has secured a £700k loan from REIF to support the first phase of the 0.5MW Shetland Tidal Array, believed to be the first deployment of a tidal energy array anywhere in the world. Scottish Enterprise is backing the project with a £1.2 million R&D grant that will lever in an additional £1.85 million of private sector investment.
  • Fintry Development Trust, a body dedicated to making the village in Stirlingshire a zero-carbon, zero-waste community, is being supported with a £615k loan. It will help refinance a commercial agreement that gives the trust an income stream from the nearby Earlsburn Wind Farm. This income will be invested in local renewable projects.
  • Inverness company AWS Ocean Energy has received a loan of £250k to support further development and testing of its AWS-III, a wave energy device which offers the prospect of wave energy on a farm scale. AWS also received support through the first round of WATERS funding.

In Aberdeen, attending the All-Energy Conference, Mr Ewing said:

“This latest round of Scottish Enterprise funding underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to Scotland’s growing renewables sector.

“Scotland is a world leader in deploying renewables technology. We have tremendous green energy potential and vast natural resources, about a quarter of Europe’s wind and tidal energy and 10% of its wave power.

“Clean, green energy is creating opportunities for communities across Scotland and delivering jobs and investment.”


Welcoming the investment, head of REIF Andrew Smith said:

“These are really ambitious and exciting projects, which clearly demonstrate the wide range of initiatives that REIF was set up to support. They also show how by working with other funders we can leverage significant investment from the private sector.

“Scotland is fast gaining a global reputation for being at the forefront of developing and testing new technologies in the development of wind, wave and tidal energy, and all of these projects will make a real contribution to the ongoing development of the sector.”

Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said:

“The investment in each of these projects is particularly welcome given their pioneering nature and potential impact on economic and social development in the Highlands and Islands.

“Not only will they contribute to further development of wave, tidal and community owned renewable energy, but their innovative nature ensures that yet again Scotland remains firmly in the renewable energy spotlight.

“This is further demonstrated this week at All-Energy, where the largest regional presence is held by the Highlands and Islands.”


The Renewable Energy Investment Fund was launched in October 2012. Its aim is to promote the use of energy from specific renewable sources and drive further investment into key areas of Scotland’s renewables industry.

REIF is delivered by the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise – on behalf of the Scottish Government and its Enterprise Agencies.

WATERS is a collaborative venture between Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).Companies based in Scotland and Scottish subsidiaries of overseas companies are invited to submit project proposals that will advance wave and tidal energy devices.

Contact: Cristina Dello Sterpaio on 0131 244 2175 or 07557 848722

See also:


Great advances….

March 27, 2014

Where to start? So much has happened since the AGM! Most importantly, the newly-formed Islay Energy Community Benefit Society ( the body which will ultimately own and operate the community wind turbine) launched its share offer on the 19th January.
Interest was keen and investment has been brisk – £75,000 was pledged on the launch evening, and the current total, with 4 days to go until the offer closes, stands at just over £460,000. This is a magnificent show of support from the Islay community and beyond, and has given us great heart during the last few weeks.
We have been working with the Scottish Investment Bank to secure top-up loan funding to meet any shortfall in project costs after the share offer closes, and this has involved some of us for the first time in the rigours of Due Diligence. This is a process which could perhaps be described as akin to childbirth, in that no-one else can fully explain how much it is going to hurt! To have several sets of solicitors scrutinising every document related to the project and querying every clause is, to say the least, stressful, and it is to the credit of the directors and staff involved that no-one has yet run away; one or two us, however, may well run away if we hear those dreaded words again.
This is coming to an end, and we do hope to reach financial close very soon; currently the plan is to start work on site towards the end of April and for the turbine to be commissioned and generating income for the community by November this year. Dr Colin Anderson, who has acted as Technical Adviser throughout, has now been appointed Project Manager for the construction phase. We are delighted to have Colin fully involved, as his calming presence and keen mind will keep us on track in the coming months. Colin visited Islay this week and we not only paced out the site, but placed a peg to mark the exact centre of the turbine for Enercon’s reference. It has taken four years to place that peg, and the moment was well worth marking!


I think we'll put it..... here!

I think we’ll put it….. here!

IET AGM focuses on benefits from community wind project and prospects for community share offer

December 5, 2013

Over 35 people who attended the Islay Energy Trust Annual General Meeting at ICCI on Wednesday 20th November were given details of IET’s current projects and plans. In particular, there was considerable interest in Lindy MacLellan’s briefing on the anticipated benefits (up to £80,000 p.a.) from the 330kW Community Wind Project near Castlehill which is nearing financial close, and in Jenni Minto’s preview of the launch of the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS) in January. The cost of the Project is around £1 million, and the more that can be raised from local investors through the IECBS share offer, the less that will have to be borrowed from a bank. This means there will be higher ‘dividends’ to the community. More details on the share offer will be forthcoming over the next few weeks. In addition, there were also presentations from Flora Maclean on the Sound of Islay Tidal Project, and from George Dean on the Bio-fuel from Distillery Wastes Study which has been a joint venture with Re-Jig. Stephen Harrison, Deputy Head of Islay High School, was elected to the IET Board in place of Mr Ian Stuart who has resigned, and Kirsten Laurie and Gus Newman were re-elected as Directors.

Islay Community Wind Turbine Project – Community Consulation

September 19, 2013

The full report from the community consultation carried out on our behalf by SKS Scotland earlier this year is now available here: Community Needs Analysis 2013

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone on Islay, Jura and Colonsay who helped to compile the study, by filling out questionnaires, taking part in focus groups and attending open meetings. We hope you’ll find the results interesting! The report has been used as a reference for our application to the Big Lottery towards the cost of our grid connection,  and provides a framework for the distribution of funds when the turbine has been installed and commissioned. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch

.priority projects

New Sound of Islay Tidal Project Officer appointed

September 10, 2013

The Islay Energy Trust (IET) is pleased to announce the appointment of Flora McLean as its new Tidal Energy Project Officer. Prior to joining IET, Flora was Director of the Scottish Food and Drink Federation in Edinburgh for 13 years, and earlier spent time working as a researcher in the House of Commons. Flora, who now lives in Caol Ila, is originally from Clydebank. However, she is no stranger to Islay. Her grandmother Flora Buie was born and brought up at ‘the Bacan’ (the shoreline beyond Caol Ila distillery) and her grandfather John McNiven was from Gruinart.

Philip Maxwell, Chairman of IET, said, “we wish Flora all the best in her new post. She will be assisting ScottishPower Renewables in the final stages of the development of the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project leading up to installation of the first devices, expected to be in late 2015.”

Flora McLean

Farewell to Andy

August 15, 2013

What better way to say goodbye to Andy Macdonald, our Tidal Project Officer, than with a farewell picnic on a sunny day on the Sound of Islay, near the project’s proposed cable landing site?



We will miss Andy’s presence in the office very much, but wish him every success in his new post as Engineering Technology Manager at Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult  in Glasgow. No beach picnics there!

Planning success – another hurdle cleared!

August 15, 2013

IET is delighted to announce that its community wind turbine project near Castlehill was granted planning permission at a Council Planning Meeting on the 19th June. This is the culmination of development work which started in 2006 and which has included lengthy discussions with HIAL over airport safeguarding zones, lease negotiations with the landowner – SNH (still in progress), wind resource data gathering using a metmast installed on the proposed site, technology selection, ongoing grid connection and power purchase negotiations, visual impact assessments, a 12-month bird survey.

Once it is up and running, hopefully in mid-2014 (this is subject to turbine delivery schedule and agreement on the grid connection), the 330 kW turbine is expected to generate £60-80,000 p.a. for the benefit of the community. The actual sum will be partly dependent on how much equity can be raised by the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS), and how much comes in the form of commercial loans. Indeed, the next big challenge is fund raising. IECBS, which will eventually own and operate the wind turbine and sell the electricity, is expecting to launch a share offer before the end of this year, the objective of which is to raise up to £650,000 which will be used to fund the purchase, installation and commissioning of the turbine.


We believe that Islay’s project could be one of the first in Scotland to be funded mainly by members of the local community.

Islay Energy Community Benefit Society Presentations

May 27, 2013
IECBS Presentations from 15th May 2013

IECBS Presentations from 15th May 2013

A public meeting was held in Bowmore Village Hall on Tuesday 14th May to discuss the proposal to establish the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS).  The idea was well-received and the presentations by Jenni Minto, IET’s Treasurer and David Hollings, from Co-operative and Mutual Solutions Limited, gave a clear explanation of how IECBS would operate.

Copies of the presentation are available here:

IECBS Presentations from 14th May 2013

The purpose of the IECBS is to raise funds to finance the installation of the community wind turbine at Castlehill.  A community benefit society is set up and run by its members in order to conduct business for the benefit the community. The members are people and/or organisations who buy shares in the society, and receive interest on their investments.

The profits made by the society are used to provide benefit to the whole community.  Each member has one vote irrespective of the amount invested, and the Board of Directors is elected by the members.

Time to start training! Triathlon 2013 – Saturday June 22nd

May 12, 2013

The Islay Triathlon 2013 will take place on Saturday June 22nd.  The Mactaggart Leisure Centre can help with your training plan every Monday from 20th May.

Triathlon 2013 Advert

Triathlon 2013 Advert

Proposed Islay Energy Community Benefit Society

May 6, 2013

IET Logo - 214x300Everyone is invited to a public meeting in Bowmore Village Hall at 7.30 p.m. Tuesday 14th May to discuss the proposal to establish the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society (IECBS).

The purpose of the IECBS is to raise funds to finance the installation of the community wind turbine at Castlehill.  A community benefit society is set up and run by its members in order to conduct business for the benefit the community. The members are people and/or organisations who buy shares in the society, and receive interest on their investments.

The profits made by the society are used to provide benefit to the whole community.  Each member has one vote irrespective of the amount invested, and the Board of Directors is elected by the members.

The intention is that IECBS will generate revenues from feed in tariffs and the sale of electricity from the community wind turbine at Castlehill.  It is estimated this could yield £60-80,000 p.a. for the community for twenty years. To purchase and install the wind turbine£650,000 needs to be raised.  The plan is that a share offer will be launched in July 2013 once IECBS has been formally registered,and people and organisations will be invited to purchase shares. It is likely that the minimum investment will be £100, maximum £20,000.

The meeting on Tuesday 14th of May will be an opportunity for the community to get involved ,receive more information and discus show IECBS would work in greater detail.  To provide expert advice on how community benefit societies are established and governed, Dave Hollings, Cooperative Mutual Solutions, wil lbe attending.  No investments are required at this stage!

Further information can be obtained from Lindy MacLellan at the Islay Energy Trust.

What would you do with £80,000 per year?

April 16, 2013

IET wants to hear your views

A chance for you to let Islay Energy Trust hear your views on what our communities need is available now.  You can help decide what projects should be funded and how, from the expected income generated by the proposed wind turbine.  Just go to the following link and complete the survey online :

Public consultation meetings during April have been planned as follows and are being run by independent consultants, SKS Scotland – please drop in and give us your views:

Portnahaven Hall, Thurs 18th, 10am – 1pm

Bruichladdich Hall, Thurs 18th, 3 – 6pm

Ballygrant Hall, Friday 19th, 10 – 1 pm

Bowmore Hall, Saturday 20th, 10am – 12.30pm

Columba Hall, Saturday 20th, 1.30-4pm

If you’d like more information or would be interested in joining a focus group to be involved in more detailed discussion, please feel free to get in touch:

Lindy at the IET office in Bowmore – lindy. , Tel. 01496 301413

Jim Bennett of SKS Scotland – jimbennett@ Tel 07932 736006

Shona Sinclair of SKS Scotland – shonasin­ Tel 07711 552094

Sound of Islay Tidal Project awarded European Funding

December 17, 2012

European Commission LogoThe Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project has been awarded up to €20.6m funding from the EU’s NER300 scheme.

NER300 funding is based on the income of the European Emissions Trading Scheme in which the sale of the 300 million allowances (which each provide the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide) forms the New Entrants Reserve.

The fund will be used to support innovative renewable energy technology and carbon capture and storage projects.

This is excellent news for the project and shows further support for the marine renewables industry at a crucial time in its development.

Details of the award decision can be found on the European Commission Climate Action website.

West Islay Tidal Array seek Business Community Views

December 6, 2012

West Islay TidalFollowing the public consultation meetings held on Islay in September, the developers of the West Islay Tidal Array are now seeking views from the local business community on what they consider would be the effects upon their businesses.

DP Marine Energy Ltd and its partners DEME Blue Energy propose to build one of the world’s first commercial scale tidal energy parks in the waters approximately 8km off the tip of the Rhinns of Islay.

PBA Roger Tym, a firm of Economists and Planners, has been commissioned to undertake the Socio-Economic, Tourism and Recreation Assessment relating to the proposed development, and to assess the nature of the potential economic and business effects.

The firm would welcome the views of all parts of the business community on the beneficial effects in accommodating those employed or providing services during the construction, operation and decommissioning of the project or negative effects from any form of disturbance.  To that end, a business survey is available for completion on-line on the following link:

Electronic and paper copies are available from the Islay Energy Trust (IET) which is helping to facilitate the assessment.  IET would like to encourage all kinds of businesses to take part in the survey and ensure that their views are included.

Further information on the survey and direct contact can be made with either the assessment team on or 0141-332-6464 or the Islay Energy Trust on or 01496-301413.

The assessment team will also be contacting tourism accommodation providers direct by telephone during the week commencing 3rd December and they would be very grateful for any views or information that could be provided.  In addition, the team also hopes to have a number of face-to-face meetings with businesses in the coming weeks prior to Christmas.

Full details of the proposed project are available on-line at

And here is the weather…..

November 28, 2012

 Islay Energy Trust’s met mast has been gathering data on the proposed community wind turbine site near Glenegedale for just over 4 months now, and it’s all good news so far. The wind resource, as expected, is excellent, with wind speeds averaging just over 7m/s during the period, with the windiest time of year still to come. One surprise – to me at least – has been that despite everything I was taught at school the prevailing wind on Islay has been from everywhere but the south west! If you haven’t yet spotted the met mast, take a look above the High Road when you’re next passing Buildbase – this will also be the site of the turbine.

Gathering of wind data is an essential part of our project, as full figures are required to guarantee any finance, as well as to satisfy the turbine manufacturer that the desired turbine will perform to their warranty standards.  By next June we will have a whole year’s figures, and, if all goes well with the bird study and no geese put in an appearance in the vicinity, then shortly afterwards we hope to be granted planning permission.

That, of course, is not the whole story, as the main issue facing us at present is the lack of grid capacity in Argyll as a whole, which means that theoretically we may not be able to connect until 2016, when the new Carradale – Hunterston link is completed.  We are currently engaged with Community Energy Scotland, SSE and other bodies to try to identify a solution to this, and in the meantime will complete all preparatory work so that we are ready to move as soon as possible; our goal, grid allowing, is to have the project completed by late 2013, although this may yet prove to be ambitious.

 The delay does affect the economics of the project as the Feed-in Tariff will be reduced next April for new installations; however it will still mean around £80,000 per year should be available for community use. How best to spend this fund will be the subject of wide consultation in the near future, and we hope the wider community will help put together a sound plan.

IET Chairman Philip Maxwell with Iona MacDonald of Community Energy Scotland at the met mast site

Opportunities in Sound of Islay Project

November 1, 2012
Argyll Businesses at the Sound of Islay Supply Chain Event

Argyll Businesses at the Sound of Islay Supply Chain Event

Project managers from ScottishPower Renewables met with more than 90 potential suppliers on Friday 26th October to discuss opportunities for involvement in the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy project.   ScottishPower Renewables received consent to install up to 10 tidal turbines in the Sound of Islay in 2011 and is now looking in detail at the supply chain for the project.

The event took place at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) near Oban and was organised in partnership with the Islay Energy Trust, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Energy North.  The aim was to encourage local businesses and suppliers to learn more about the project and to make their services known to ScottishPower Renewables and ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest, the project’s technology provider.

The majority of businesses came from Argyll with several Islay businesses attending.  To date, the project has used a wide variety of local services including ornithology, marine services, transport, accommodation and project management.   As the project enters the installation phase there are likely to be further supply chain opportunities in survey work, marine support services, environmental monitoring as well as onshore haulage and construction.

Alan Mortimer, Head of Innovation at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Tidal power has tremendous potential to supply a significant proportion of Scotland’s electricity needs in the coming decades. We have some of the best marine power resources of any country in the world. Our proposed tidal power project in the Sound of Islay is the only scheme in Scotland to have received planning permission, so we are breaking new ground when it comes to delivering a project of this nature.

“For the industry to deliver tidal power projects there needs to be a strong supply chain that includes local companies who can provide a range of products and services to support these developments. We have been working very closely with HIE, Energy North and Argyll and Bute Council to engage local firms who could have something to offer to the marine renewable energy industry.

Andy Macdonald, from the Islay Energy Trust, said “It was great to see the wide range of relevant skills and experience that exists in the region.  The Sound of Islay project is getting closer and with the potential for other projects to be developed in the region, this is an excellent time to get involved.  I would encourage local businesses to get in touch with me if they would like to find out more about the opportunities.”

ScottishPower Renewables aim to start work on the Islay project in 2013, with machines being installed as early as feasible from 2014. A prototype 1MW (megawatt) tidal power machine was successfully installed for testing off the coast of Orkney late last year. The industry-leading technology has been developed by ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest, who successfully operated a smaller prototype machine in Norwegian waters for more than 6 years and is currently testing their latest model of machine, the HS1000, at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

Sound of Islay Lobster V-Notching Scheme

October 17, 2012

European Lobster (Homarus gammarus)

The plans for a Lobster V-Notching Scheme for the Sound of Islay took a major step forward with the visit on Monday 1st October of Dr. Paulo A. Prodöhl from Queen’s University Belfast.  Dr. Prodöhl gave a talk to some of the local fishermen on the success of a similar scheme being run around the northeast coast of Ireland.

He explained how the fishermen would take a sample of eggs and a notch from the tail of female lobsters and returning the lobster to the sea where it was caught.

Allowing the female to continue to breed for at least another three years helps to support the lobster population in the area and the DNA analysis of the v-notch and eggs allows researchers from Dr. Prodöhl ‘s team to analyse the lifecycle and track the distribution of the lobster population.

West Islay Tidal Public Information Days

September 11, 2012

Blair Marnie, project manager for the West Islay Tidal project being developed by DP Marine Energy and DEME Blue Energy, visited Islay this week to provide a project update to the Islay Community Council.  The project has a Crown Estate agreement for lease for a 30MW tidal array consisting of up to 30 tidal turbines in an area to the west of Portnahaven.

Studies of the seabed and tidal flow have confirmed that the area is an excellent energy resource.  Detailed environmental survey work has been carried out over the last two years and has not highlighted any significant issues.  The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is nearing completion and the aim is to submit an application for consent to the Scottish Government by the end of the year.

Blair’s visit is being followed up with Public Information Days in Bowmore, Portnahaven and Port Ellen on the 25th and 26th of September.  Organisation of these information days is being facilitated by Islay Energy Trust, to ensure that the local consultation is as wide-ranging and as locally relevant as possible. The West Islay Tidal project team will be on hand to answer any questions that you may have.

The details are as follows:

  • Bowmore Hall, Tuesday 25th Sept, 2pm to 8pm
  • Portnahaven, Rhinns Hall, Wednesday 26th Sept, 10am to 1pm
  • Port Ellen, Columba Hall, Wednesday 26th Sept, 4pm to 8pm

Songs of the Scottish Sea

July 19, 2012
Andy Crabb, Filmmaker

Andy Crabb, Filmmaker

Filmmaker Andy Crabb from the Songs of the Scottish Sea project spent two days on Islay working with eight S2 students from Islay High School.  The students learned how to use the film gear before putting it into practice shooting scenes for a documentary on The Power of the Sea.

Islay is set to become a world focal point for marine renewables, with the Sound of Islay Tidal Array likely to be the first fully functioning array of tidal turbines in the world.  The array will consist of 10 tidal turbines producing more electricity than is consumed each year by Islay and Jura.

Islay already has a history of marine renewable development and is the home of the prototype LIMPET (Land Installed Marine Powered Energy Transformer).  The world’s first commercial wave energy device is to be found on the rocky coastline of the Rhinns of Islay near Portnahaven at the southern tip of the island.

The students filmed the huge hulk of concrete that houses the device, set amongst the battered rocks of the Rhinns,  and then went to talk to Mrs. Mary Merrall who lives in the croft next to the the device.  She invited everyone in for tea and cake, and recounted tales of the building of the LIMPET – Tales of earth shaking dynamite blasting and the unearthly noise of the first prototype built in 1991 that could be heard a mile away in the village.

The young film crew also visited Port Askaig  to talk to the Islay life boat crew about the power of the tide in the Sound, and then jumped aboard the ferry to Jura to experience a boat fighting its way across the very same tide that will soon be powering the turbines that will be on the seabed in the Sound.

Islay, an island of stunning beauty, deep history and world famous whisky is now at the very heart of the development of our future energy supplies.

Islay Triathlon 2012

July 5, 2012
Junior Triathlon 2012

Junior Triathlon Competitors 2012

Last weekend saw the start of a great summer of sport with the Islay Triathlon going from strength to strength in its 20th anniversary year. Saturday’s senior event was well attended with the men’s and women’s individual prizes going to Stephen Whiston and Hazel Manson from the Mid-Argyll Triathlon Club.

Start of the Swimming Event

It was good to see some excellent performances from the younger entrants with Iain Harrison taking the best local individual prize and Katie Wood taking the fastest female runner award. The fastest female swimmer award was also kept on Islay with an exceptional swim from Lynzie McCuaig.

The me’sn team event was a local derby with the Bowmore Boys Connor Boyd, Grahame Bauld and David Rountree snatching victory from the Port Ellen Boys. The fastest women’s team was won with a strong performance by Ros Way, Hazel Whiston, Lorna MacGregor from Mid–Argyll and the fastest mixed team was won by John Hardie, Dave Payne and Rona Young. The junior team “Wavelength” with Romy Mitchell, Islay Mowat and Katie Wood won the junior team event with special congratulations to Romy for following this up by winning the individual prize at the junior event on

Active Schools ran the 5th Islay Schools Triathlon in partnership with Mactaggart Leisure Centre and with ScottishPower Renewables once again helping to sponsor the event. Children from P5 to S2 competed in the event either as mixed teams, girls teams or boys teams.

Men’s Individual Winner – Stephen Whiston

Well done to all competitors and thanks for making our 20th Anniversary a great day. Thanks also to all the volunteers who made the event possible, and to ScottishPower Renewables and Islay Energy Trust for their continued support. For more detailed results go to Islay Triathlon website.

Scotland’s Marine Energy Action Plan

June 21, 2012

Marine Energy Action Plan

The Marine Energy Group (Scotland’s Government and Industry forum for Marine Renewables) has published the latest version of the Marine Energy Action Plan.

The plan outlines progress made since the launch of the 2009 Marine Energy Road Map and makes recommendations to help improve access to finance, grid development, infrastructure and supply chain, the planning regime and engagement with Europe, to ensure Scotland and other nations seize the huge potential for clean energy from the world’s seas and oceans.

Progress in the marine energy sector since 2009, highlighted in today’s Action Plan, include:

  • Exclusivity agreements to develop 1.6 GW of marine energy capacity off the north Scottish coast in the world’s first commercial wave and tidal leasing round
  • Additional leasing opportunities (23 of 28 UK leased areas in Scotland) through demonstration sites and rounds to support competitors in £10 million Saltire Prize
  • 11 pioneering wave and tidal devices deployed/in process of deployment at European Marine Energy Centre EMEC – the world’s first fully-accredited, grid-connected wave and tidal test facility – with a further three to deploy by 2014
  • Significant industrial investments in developer technologies from major global power engineering conglomerates ABB, Alstom, Rolls Royce and Siemens.
  • Consent for world’s largest consented tidal stream project, ScottishPower Renewables-Andritz Hydro Hammerfest 10-megawatt tidal stream project near Islay
  • Opening of world’s first fully commercial wave power plant, Mutriku breakwater power plant in Spain, using Voith Hydro Wavegen’s Scottish technology, developed and demonstrated in grid-connected operation at LIMPET on Islay.

The full press release about the Marine Energy Action Plan is on the Scottish Government website.

ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest HS1000 Tidal Device

June 14, 2012

The Sound of Islay Tidal Energy project will use the HS1000 tidal turbine designed by ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest.

A single 1MW HS1000 was deployed and grid-connected in December 2011 at EMEC in Orkney.  It has reached full export capacity during testing and is exporting power to the grid.  ANDRITZ HYDRO have produced a short video explaining more about the device and how it operates.

The HS1000 Tidal Turbine video can be watched on YouTube.

Secretary of State for Scotland visits the Sound of Islay

May 31, 2012

Michael Moore MP at the site of the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project

The Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, visited Islay this week.  He met directors and staff from the Islay Energy Trust and visited the site of the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project.

Amongst topics under discussion were support for early tidal arrays, the benefits of community renewable projects and the shortage of grid capacity for renewable generation.

The Secretary of State also took time to visit the Islay Woolen Mill, Islay farmers, Bowmore Distillery, Dunlossit Estate and Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle.

HS1000 1MW Tidal Device Achieves Full Export Power

May 17, 2012

ImageThe ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest HS1000 tidal turbine that was installed and connected to the grid last December has spent the last few months undergoing tests at the EMEC test site in Orkney.

The initial testing period has been very positive with the device achieving full export power.

ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest will be at Stand G110 and the Islay Energy Trust will be at the Argyll/HIE Stand L50 of All-Energy Conference (23rd to 24th May 2012)

IET Submission to Scottish Parliament Inquiry

February 28, 2012

The Energy, Economy and Tourism committee of the Scottish Parliament asked for evidence for its Inquiry into the Scottish Government’s Renewables Targets.  Stressing the importance of the role of communities, The Islay Energy Trust has submitted a response asking for a further question to be considered by the committee:

“To what extent can communities contribute to and benefit from realising carbon savings/renewable energy targets?”
There are three reasons for posing this question, supported by IET’s experience on Islay.

  1. Talk of energy supply targets is meaningless without addressing the issue of potential reductions in energy consumption, which could make supply targets more achievable, or not as the case may be. Community action can play a significant role in helping reduce consumption.
  2. Community initiatives in developing renewable energy projects should not be ignored in the supply equation. Community Energy Scotland has already drawn the Committee’s attention to the contribution nationally that community-owned projects can make, and IET’s development of renewables projects is receiving widespread local support.
  3. Community support for larger scale renewable energy projects can facilitate the consenting process and add value to all stakeholders. However, such support can be difficult to harness without early and genuine local consultation, and comprehensive social impact assessments.

The full submission can be read here: 26 February 2012 – IET submission to Scottish Parliament Inquiry into Energy Targets

Renewables on Islay

February 8, 2012

Islay Energy Trust’s third Renewables Day on 28th January drew a good crowd once again, all keen to find out more about how renewable technologies can benefit the average house, while also picking up a few tips on composting from Polly and indulging in  delicious baking and snacks from the Islay High School Hospitality team. Following the recent cuts to Feed-in Tariff for solar PV, the emphasis this year switched away from harnessing the power of the sun to harnessing the potential of the heat pump, with particular interest in air-air heat pumps, which many are finding to be an efficient and affordable alternative to oil and electricity when it comes to heating the home. If you’d like more information on any renewable technology but weren’t able to attend on the day, please feel free to get in touch and we can supply a list of exhibitors.

The event is also a useful opportunity to keep everyone up to date with IET’s activities, and of course to gain new members, which won’t have escaped the notice of anyone trying to get into the hall without attracting the attention of Malcolm Ogilvie, our chief recruiter. Over 31 new membership forms were handed out on the day; most have found their way back to us, but if you still have yours then feel free to drop it into the office at any time. Our membership now stands at over 300, which helps to show good community engagement when we apply for funding support for projects.

Andy Macdonald gave a thorough and informative update on the Sound of Islay Tidal project, which is making good progress, and also on display was a selection of images from the recent visual assessment carried out for our single community wind turbine proposal near Castlehill. This project is still very much in the development stage as we are in negotiation over the ground lease, but Scottish Natural Heritage, as site owner, has very helpfully given us interim permission to carry out various studies to take full advantage of our current funding. This means that in addition to commissioning the visual assessment we have been able to apply for a grid connection for the project, and have recently submitted a planning application for a met mast on the site so that we can carry out the necessary wind speed assessments. We hope that this project, which would see the installation of one 330kW turbine, will one day earn a considerable income for the community – but there are a number of hurdles still to clear, not least that grid connection application.

The visual assessment has been a very interesting exercise, and it is encouraging to see how low-key the installation would be if it goes ahead. If you didn’t see the pictures on the day, they are available to see at our office in Main Street – please call in during office hours, all comments welcome.

HS1000 at EMEC getting ready to feed the grid

February 8, 2012
HS1000 Subsea

Hammerfest Strom's HS1000 at EMEC

Hammerfest Strøm has completed another key milestone after the successful installation of the 1MW HS1000 tidal turbine in one of the toughest waters in Europe at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. The installation was carried out during very challenging weather conditions. The device has been successfully synchronised to the grid and supplied power to the grid on the first attempt and during the first start-up.

Project Manager, Martin Sloan says:
“When we started out in this process the widely held view was that we had an operational window  of approx. 6 months. With deployment of the HS1000 in some of the UK’s most hostile waters at what must be considered one of the worst operational deployment periods we have demonstrated that with the correct methodologies, skilled personnel and proper risk management the window is year round. The significance of this should go a long way to driving down the whole cost structure of tidal deployment by companies such as Hammerfest Strøm who can demonstrate they have the capability and technologies to work throughout the year.

The final phase of commissioning the onshore equipment is now well underway and it is anticipated that we will commence operational / load testing onto the grid later this month which then kicks off the data collection and engineering validation process, this process will continue over many months albeit tthe system is now configured to be operated remotely.”

For more details are available from the Hammerfest Strøm website.



Solar PV – is it still worth it?

February 2, 2012

Continuing uncertainty over the Government’s decision to cut the Feed-in Tariff for Solar PV has led to confusion among potential customers,  as well as being pretty disastrous for the trade. Green Energy Net has two excellent articles on this which may help you decide whether it’s still for you and you’ll find them here:

Is Solar PV still worth considering in 2012?

When does Solar PV not make sense?

If you’re still considering installing solar panels on your house, read both of these first – and  in particular, pay attention to the recommendation that before considering any renewable technology, you should first do the easy and cheap stuff – insulation, draught-proofing and taking more care in how you use your heating and hot water system will help keep your bills down with very little effort. In future, it’s likely that adoption of such measures will be mandatory before Feed-in Tariff can be paid, and rightly so. Installing solar panels or a heat pump in a draughty, poorly insulated house makes no sense, either financially or in terms of carbon saving  -  which is, after all, what the Feed-in Tariff is all about.

IET Community Energy Co-operative Survey

January 23, 2012

The Islay Energy Trust (IET) needs to raise around £900,000 to fund a combination of renewable energy projects including wind, hydro, solar etc.  Financial benefits to the community from these projects could total £100,000 each year in the first ten years and £200,000 each year after that.  It is likely that IET will be able to raise approximately £600,000 from banks and it hopes to raise £300,000 from local investors.

Islay Community Energy Co-operative

IET has been discussing the establishment of a co-operative in which local people can invest. Each investor will become a member of the co-operative with a single vote, irrespective of sum invested. The co-operative would be governed by a board elected by the members.  The co-operative would invest its funds in IET’s projects and would receive revenues from them.

Investment and Return

Individual investments could range from £100 to £20,000. Withdrawal of capital would be possible. Similar co-operatives have been paying out returns to investors of 5 – 8% p.a.

IET is conducting a survey to find out if there is interest in investing in an IET Energy Co-operative.  We are very interested in your views and would appreciate if you could take part in the very short (three question) survey:

   (by 31st January 2012)

This is not an offer to invest

This is not an offer to invest in the co-operative or any other investment product.  Answers will be used for information purposes only, and do not represent a commitment.  As you can see, the information is anonymous.  If IET decides to proceed, a full prospectus and offer will be issued.

Hammerfest Strøm HS1000 Tidal Turbine Installed in Orkney

December 28, 2011
Installation of the Hammerfest Strom HS1000 at EMEC

Installation of the Hammerfest Strøm HS1000 Tidal Turbine

The plans for the 10MW Tidal Energy Project in the Sound of Islay took a significant step forward with the successful deployment of the Hammerfest Strøm HS1000 tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

The HS1000 tidal turbine has been developed by Hammerfest Strøm, a company partly-owned by Iberdrola (ScottishPower Renewables’s parent company), Andritz Hydro and Statoil New Energy.  Seen as one of the world’s most advanced tidal turbine designs, a prototype device has been generating electricity in Norway for over 6 years.

Following its successful installation, the HS1000 device will now enter a test period to confirm its performance and reliability, in preparation for larger scale production and deployment.  It is expected that the machine will be fully operational in early 2012. The tests will also help to finalise the timetable for the Islay project, with machines being installed as early as feasible during the period 2013 to 2015.

Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “We are delighted that the HS1000 turbine has been successfully installed in Orkney, and Hammerfest engineers deserve huge credit for carrying out this difficult operation in very testing weather conditions. We look forward to monitoring its progress when fully operational next year.

“This is a major milestone in the development of tidal power technology in Scotland, and for the tidal power industry across the world. We anticipate using this turbine as part of our project in Islay, which will be the first of its kind in the world, and remains the only consented tidal array project in Scotland. Beyond this, we have ambitions to use this turbine as part of even larger scale projects in the Pentland Firth, which we are currently investigating.

“The substructure for this device was constructed in the Arnish Yard, near Stornoway in Lewis, and we aim to work very closely with The Scottish Government to support their ambitions of delivering both economic and environmental benefits for Scotland from the marine renewables industry.”

The Managing Director of Hammerfest Strom, Stein Atle Andersen, said; “The device was installed in one of Europe’s most challenging waters, during the roughest time of the year, which shows the extreme conditions the technology and the team is capable of handling.”

Scotland is widely regarded as having the best tidal power resources anywhere in the world and the progression to demonstration projects is seen as a vital step towards fully realising this potential.  The Islay project will play a key role in proving a range of factors necessary for the large scale deployment of the technology. This will include developing a better understanding of the technical aspects involved in deploying and maintaining machines and bringing forward systems to monitor and analyse their performance.

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