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.
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.”
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.
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.
The BBC’s Glenn Campbell was on Islay to investigate how the how the local economy is faring. The report was broadcast on 9th February and covers the Machrie Hotel, fuel prices and the excellent potential for renewable energy on Islay.
The report can be seen on iPlayer by clicking on the link below:
Surveys carried out at the Public Information Days on Islay and Jura and at the Islay Show demonstrated strong community support for the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project.
- 27 out of 27 people that completed the questionnaires at the events on Islay and Jura said that they thought the Sound of Islay was a suitable place for a tidal array.
- 48 out of 56 people at the Islay Show were either Supportive or Very Supportive of the project with the remaining 8 undecided. Nobody said they were against or strongly against.
The Islay Energy Trust has submitted a letter to Marine Scotland to register its support for the project. A copy of the letter can be seen by clicking on the following link:
Congratulations to our Tidal Project Officer Andy and wife Iseabail on the birth of their third child, Frances Catriona, on Saturday 30th October. If you’re looking for Andy, he is currently ‘enjoying’ two weeks of paternity leave and will be back in the office for a rest soon!
The recent announcements about the manufacture of the Hammerfest HS1000 Tidal Turbine by BiFab on Lewis has highlighted the importance of the Sound of Islay project as a stepping stone to large scale commercialisation of tidal energy. Here are a few of the reports:
- The Guardian – Tuesday 17th August 2010
- Scottish firm BiFab wins £4m contract to build prototype tidal energy turbine in the Sound of Islay
- BBC News Online – Tuesday 17th August 2010
- £4m deal for new tidal turbines
- Herald Scotland — Wednesday, 18 Aug 2010
- Islay first island in world to be tidal powered
- Scotsman – Wednesday 18th August 2010
- £4m power deal ‘tip of iceberg’ for Scottish jobs
There were a couple of significant announcements relating to the Sound of Islay tidal energy project today.
To put this in context, a quick summary of the background:
The Sound of Islay project is being developed by ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) with local support from the Islay Energy Trust. The proposal is to put ten 1MW tidal turbines in the Sound of Islay, just south of Port Askaig. The devices sit on the seabed and are fully submerged (they are about 30 metres to the blade tip and will be placed in 50 metres of water.)
SPR submitted an application at the end of July for consent to Marine Scotland (part of the Scottish Government.) In parallel with this, preparations are underway to place a single 1MW turbine at the EMEC test site in Orkney. If consent is given and the tests at EMEC go well then the ten devices for the Sound of Islay would be manufactured in 2012 and installed in 2013.
So back to today’s announcements:
Firstly, it was announced that BiFab (Burntisland Fabrications) will build the device to be deployed at the EMEC test site in Orkney in summer 2011 at their site in Arnish, Lewis. This is the largest part of an order worth four million pounds and it is significant that a Scottish firm has proved capable of winning the contract and demonstrates that the marine renewables industry can make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy.
Secondly, Hammerfest Strom, the developer of the HS1000 tidal device, has completed a significant new round of funding that includes investment from Andritz Hydro. This secures the funding for the Orkney development and provides additional technical experience to Hammerfest Strom.
Finally, SPR has announced it it entering its Pentland Firth site at the Ness of Duncansby into the £10 million Saltire Prize for marine energy innovation. This shows its commitment to tidal technology and is a reminder of the next scale of development (95MW) that will follow the Sound of Islay installation.
Overall, this is excellent news and shows that the project is fast becoming a reality!
ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) will be holding public information days on Islay and Jura to update the local community on the progress of the project.
Staff from SPR will be available to answer any questions about this project or renewables in general.
Details of the events are as follows:
Jura Village Hall, Craighouse, Jura
Wednesday 28th July, 12noon until 4pm
Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, Bowmore, Islay
Thursday 29th July, 3pm until 7pm
The Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project has taken another step forward with the signing of the grid connection agreement with SHEPD (Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution). The agreement covers the investment in the grid infrastructure to provide the ScottishPower Renewables project with the 10MW capacity that it requires.
This is an important milestone as the relatively limited capacity of the electricity network from the mainland over Jura was seen as a potential restriction on renewable energy projects on Islay, Jura and Colonsay. The proposal for ten 1MW tidal devices could generate more electricity than is used by the whole of Islay.
The Environmental Statement, which covers all aspects of the project, is nearly complete and will be sent to the Scottish Government in June. This will be followed by a period of public consultation in July with events being planned on Islay and Jura.
The Sound of Islay tidal project is becoming recognised as one of the leading tidal demonstration projects in the world.
Previous international media interest from Al Jazeera has recently been followed by a short programme on France 3′s European affairs programme Avenue de l’Europe.
The programme also looks at Bruichladdich Distillery‘s plans to build an anaerobic digester.
The programme is available on the internet at the following link:
(then search for ‘avenue’ and the 17th April edition of the programme)
Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather announced that Scotland’s £10 million Saltire Prize, a challenge to the world to accelerate the commercial development of marine energy, is now open for applications.
The Prize, the largest Government innovation prize in the world, will go to a commercially viable wave or tidal energy technology that generates at least 100 Gigawatts of electricity over two years using only the power of the sea – enough to power 10,000 homes.
Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather also confirmed today that The Crown Estate, as owners of the seabed around the UK, will run a dedicated leasing round over this summer specifically aimed at Saltire Prize competitors to test their devices in Scottish waters.
Publishing the competition guidelines today at the Scottish Renewables annual conference in Glasgow, Mr Mather said: “I am delighted that the Saltire Prize, Scotland’s challenge to the world to push to the boundaries of marine energy innovation, is now open for applications. The guidelines have been finalised and are published today. We have been working with The Crown Estate and Marine Scotland to enable new opportunities for global competitors and I am pleased at the co-operation in opening a dedicated new sea-bed leasing round. This will be led by The Crown Estate and will be specifically aimed at new projects competing for the Saltire Prize.
Rob Hastings, Director of the marine estate at The Crown Estate said: “Following on the success of the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters announcement, we are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government to identify further areas for wave and tidal project leases in Scottish Waters. We share the Scottish Government’s drive to encourage this emerging industry to maturity and we are looking forward to announcing the start of the leasing round later this year.”
Scotland’s seas can provide 25 per cent of Europe’s tidal power and 10 per cent of its wave power. The Scottish Government and The Crown Estate are seeking views on the suitability of the proposed areas for the dedicated leasing round. The areas are:
Wave – West of Shetland, west of the Western Isles, north of Tiree, west of Colonsay
Tidal – West of Islay, west of Kintyre peninsula
It is very encouraging to see Argyll being given the opportunity to make use of its excellent marine energy potential.
One of the most interesting activities of the planning process for the Tidal Energy Project has been the assessment of the marine and shoreline archaeology.
Survey work was recently carried out by Dan Atkinson from Headland Archaeology with local support from Susan Campbell. Whilst no new discoveries were found during the surveys, the work highlighted the rich selection of historic maps that are available online from the National Library of Scotland (http://www.nls.uk).
An excellent example is the map of the Sound of Islay between Port Askaig and Feolin from 1882 which can be found at http://bit.ly/Sound1882. Blaeu’s 1654 Atlas of Scotland can be found at http://bit.ly/Blaeu1654.
On the engineering side of the project, the design of the tidal device is making good progress. Hammerfest Strøm UK Ltd are planning to install a full-scale version of the device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney later this year. The testing of the single device in Orkney will provide the confidence to go ahead with the ten devices proposed for the Sound of Islay.
The Navigational Safety Risk Assessment (NSRA) is another important part of the planning process and David Cantello, an independent consultant from Abbot Risk Consulting, has been assessing the potential impact to other marine users. Meetings took place in November and December with CalMac, Argyll and Bute Council, the MoD, the Northern Lighthouse Board and some of the Port Askaig fishermen. Any further comments on the potential impact to marine users would be welcomed by Andy Macdonald at the Islay Energy Trust on 810 873 or email@example.com
Marine energy will be ready for mass scale deployment and an important new commercial UK industry by 2020 says the Carbon Trust, as it announces the six most promising technologies that will today receive £22m of new funding to speed up the deployment of full scale prototypes of their leading designs.
Designed and managed by the Carbon Trust, the Marine Renewable Proving Fund (MRPF) uses new funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The MRPF marks a new level of commitment to developing wave and tidal technologies by helping the UK’s most promising technologies to progress towards early stage deployment and accelerating the first commercial projects in UK waters.
The tidal turbine, known as HS1000, is expected to be fully operational in Orkney by 2011. Hammerfest Strøm UK has already completed the design and pre-engineering and is now tendering for fabrication and installation.
After a test period, the company will work with ScottishPower Renewables who have plans to install the device as part of a 10MW tidal power array in the Sound of Islay by 2012. This project will be the largest demonstration tidal power project in the world and put ScottishPower Renewables at the forefront of global tidal power developers.
Students from Reid Kerr College‘s Skills for Work Energy programme joined up with Freddie Bell and S5s Skills for Work students from Islay High School as part of a combined study into Islay’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy resources.
The trip included a visit to Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle to see the photovoltaic tiles and a presentation about the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project. The students had some great questions and it is hoped that they will be able to come back to Islay as the project develops.
Further details are available on the Reid Kerr website.
The Tidal Energy project has required some detailed analysis of the local area and we now have a good selection of photos from the surveys. Below are some of the highlights from 2009:
Other Islay and Jura winners included:
Best Tourism Initiative: Jura Passenger Ferry
Best Activity Website: Islay Wilderness Guide, ahead of Islay Shipping Blog in close pursuit.
Best Local Newspaper: Oban Times, a flyaway winner with the Ileach a good second.
Best Community Initiative: Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop, with the Finlaggan Centre development on Islay a close second.
Best Wildlife Website: Mull Eagle Watch, with Islay Birds a good second.
The tidal energy project is continuing to gather information in preparation for the Environmental Statement that will be submitted to the Scottish Government early next year.
In addition to the bird and sea mammal surveys, a sophisticated turbulence measurement frame was installed last week (see photo). This equipment, which weighed over two tonnes will provide information that will allow the turbine blades to be optimised for the fast flows in the Sound of Islay.
The document can be downloaded by clicking here.
If you have any more questions that you would like answered then please contact:
Al Jazeera’s television news reporter Tim Friend visited to Islay to report on how the Sound of Islay Tidal project could play its part in tackling climate change.
The Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project was featured on Newsnight Scotland on Thursday 3rd September. The report by Douglas Fraser of BBC Scotland included interviews with Alan Mortimer from ScottishPower Renewables, Philip Maxwell from Islay Energy Trust and Kevin Sutherland from Diageo.
The programme is availabel on the BBC’s iPlayer until Thursday 10th September at the following link:
Islay and the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project has been in the news recently with articles inThe Guardian and on Reporting Scotland and Newsnight Scotland.
The study charts a course for wave and tidal power around Scotland, and highlights actions to build further success in the sector. Its recommendations, for Government and its partners, include:
A call for the Scottish Government to repeat its Wave and Tidal Energy Support scheme
A review of grid infrastructure required to support growth
A fresh look at the levels of support available under the renewables obligation
Calls for the Treasury to do more to help the sector, including the release of the Fossil Fuel Levy surplus funds to help promote renewables in Scotland
The full report can be found on the Scottish Government website.
Roseanna Cunningham, the Environment Minister, visited the Islay Energy Trust on 28th July as part of her summer tour programme. The discussions covered the carbon savings project with Lindy Maclellan and the Tidal Energy project with Andy Macdonald.
The visit to the IET offices was followed by a trip to Port Askaig to see the Sound of Islay and take the ferry on to Jura.
The ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) Sound of Islay Tidal Project is progressing well with the completion of the latest flow measurement activities. Detailed measurements of the flow across a full day were recorded and the seabed measurements devices that were placed last month were recovered with data over a full tidal cycle.
This new data will enable SPR to identify the best locations for the tidal devices and allow the turbine designers to optimise the design of the units and blades for the conditions in the Sound of Islay.
The Board of the Islay Energy Trust (IET) met with Jim Mather, MSP, on Tuesday 14th July to discuss the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy and the Carbon Saving Projects.
Both Project Officers, Andrew Macdonald and Lindy Maclellan respectively, gave detailed reports on the progress of their projects.
Mr Mather, who last year facilitated a seminar on IET’s Tidal Project, said he was delighted at all the developments that had taken place, and encouraged IET “to become a role model for community-owned energy trusts”.
Port Mòr Wheelers, the recently formed junior cycle club, now have the go-ahead to create an off-road track at the Port Mòr Centre, Port Charlotte, funded by ScottishPower Renewables. Andy Macdonald, local liason and Tidal Project Officer at Islay Energy Trust said: “We are delighted to be involved in such a forward thinking and green community initiative. We hope that this will be the first of many renewable energy projects that will benefit the Islay community and we applaud the generosity of the Port Mòr Centre for helping us with this exciting venture.”
The Sound of Islay was busier than usual last week when seabed and wildlife surveys started as part of ScottishPower Renewables proposal for a tidal energy project. The work is part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and includes a broad survey of birds, sea mammals and seabed ecology in the Sound of Islay.
Bird and sea mammal surveys will take place over the next year from seven observer points on both sides of the Sound. This will provide data at different times of day and different tidal conditions in order to build up a picture of wildlife location and activities. Local survey work is being carried out by Simon Pinder and Fiona MacGillivray.
The ecology of the seabed was also assessed using cameras lowered from the Margaret Sinclair. With excellent weather and visibility the survey team managed to capture over 25 kilometres of still and video images at a depth of over 50 metres. No surprise discoveries so far but the images will be analysed further to identify any species of interest.
A number of flow measurement devices called ADCPs (Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers) have also been placed on the seabed to measure the flow rates in the Sound during different tidal states. The ADCPs had to be placed to an accuracy of ten metres which at a depth of 50 metres in the middle of a tidal stream is not as easy as it sounds. The deployment used two vessels and was carried with the help and local knowledge of diver Colin Campbell.
An extensive survey of birds and sea mammals in the Sound of Islay has started in order to provide baseline data for the proposed Tidal Energy project. Surveys will take place from seven observer points on both sides of the Sound. The survey will provide a count of birds and sea mammals at different times of day and different tidal conditions in order to build up a picture of their location and activities.
The work is being carried out by Natural Research with local survey work being carried out by Simon Pinder and Fiona MacGillivray.