Increased generation from Scottish renewables

Windfarm near Ardrossan, Scotland

In June the UK Government released figures showing that renewable energy generation has seen a dramatic 11% increase in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Improved weather conditions for generation have seen wind generation in Scotland increase by 37%.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish energy minister, said: “These figures show that Scotland’s renewable energy sector is stronger than ever with almost exactly 1GW of new capacity installed since Q1 2017 and a strong pipeline of further projects still to be constructed.” Last year proved to be another record breaking year with provisional annual statistics showing that renewable electricity generation was up 27% on 2016 and 19% on 2015. The increase in generation now brings 69% of Scotland’s electricity consumption being delivered by renewable energy.

Scotland has long delivered on world leading electricity targets and is helped by an abundant onshore wind resource and historic hydro system. As the Scottish Government builds out new offshore wind and tidal projects the increase in generation only looks to continue. Recent plans for a new pumped storage hydro scheme on Scotland’s famous Loch Ness show a long term vision for the country’s electricity grid as it looks to increase penetration of renewables into its grid system. Climate change targets have been helped by the closure of Scotland’s last remaining coal powered fire station in recent years but ageing nuclear power stations and a “no new nuclear” policy look to add new challenges in the future.

Getting hooked on wave power

Wave Power 4

Aquaculture is an iconic and increasingly important industry in Scotland, worth an estimated £1.4bn to the Scottish economy and employing 8,000 people. Currently for onsite electricity supply the industry relies heavily on diesel to generators, however, the marine environment presents an opportunity to replace this with renewable electricity.

One company seeking to exploit this potential is Albertan, a developer of a small wave energy device called a SQUID. Each SQUID unit comprises a hollow central riser tube connected to 3 buoyancy floats by linking arms. The connections between these are made by six articulated pumping modules. The buoyancy floats also have hollow structures, allowing them to house the PTO (Power take-off unit) along with other components for communications and hydraulic operation.


Wave power 2

When interconnected as an array the ocean’s energy pushes and pulls the array’s structure; each SQUID unit’s articulated joints flex, absorb some of the wave’s energy.


In collaboration with Marine Harvest (Scotland), Albatern deployed a three unit WaveNET array on marine Harvest’s new Am Maol salmon farming site off the Isle of Muck off the west coast of Scotland. The 22 kW deployment is also helping with the testing and validation of the device. As there are already vessels in the area servicing the fish farm, the cost of deployment, maintenance and monitoring is brought down. Additionally, small developments like that for the Muck fish farm can come within the existing seabed lease for the fish farm, counting as ancillary equipment, the project costs and lead in time are also reduced. These factors combine to reduce the costs attached with wave developments; which is good news for an industry which has recently experienced setbacks.


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