Study: Tidal turbines could power half of Scotland

Jan. 20, 2014 at 5:11 PM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A single stretch of water off the north coast of Scotland could provide sufficient renewable tidal energy to power about half the country, engineers say.

Tidal turbines placed in the Pentland Firth between mainland Scotland and the islands of Orkney could generate 1.9 gigawatts of power, engineers from Edinburgh University and Oxford University reported.

Their detailed study suggests the Pentland Firth is an ideal location for marine power projects because its tidal currents are among the fastest in the British Isles.

"This is a more accurate approach than was used in the early days of tidal stream power assessment, and should be useful in calculating how much power might realistically be recoverable from the Pentland Firth," Edinburgh engineering Professor Alistair Borthwick said Monday in a university release.

The researchers offered assessments of how to develop and regulate this clean energy resource effectively.

"The United Kingdom enjoys potentially some of the best tidal resources worldwide, and if we exploit them wisely they could make an important contribution to our energy supply," said Oxford researcher Guy Houlsby. "These studies should move us closer towards the successful exploitation of the tides."

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