Shetland’s renewable marine energy opportunities will be highlighted at a prestigious international exhibition in Aberdeen next week.
The All-Energy 2011 Exhibition and Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, which has more than 500 exhibitors from 20 countries, is the UK’s largest renewable energy event.
Devoted to all forms of clean and renewable energy, the event will showcase the first comprehensive study of Shetland’s potential as a source of wave and tidal power.
This study, which was officially launched at London’s Renewable UK Wave and Tidal Conference in March, will be used to promote Shetland as a location for the development of marine renewable energy, potentially attracting business and employment to the isles. Resource maps within the publication will help would-be developers identify the best sites for generating electricity.
Produced by data collection and modelling, the maps enable viewers to zoom in to specific areas. They fill the gaps in existing information at major tidal energy sites at Bluemull Sound and Yell Sound and make it easier to understand the wave energy resources available up to 500 metres off the coastline.
SIC development committee chairman and former fishing skipper Josie Simpson said: “Shetland has a huge untapped marine energy resource. Finding ways to exploit this resource sustainably is very important for Shetland’s future prosperity.”
David Priest of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) said: “This is a really useful piece of work and fills the gap in the information available on the seas around Shetland, making it easier for developers to plan. It clearly demonstrates where the best wave and tidal energy is and shows how good resources are.”
The data and mapping will become part of the marine atlas of the Shetland Islands Marine Spatial Plan. The main benefits will be in helping marine energy developers identify the most appropriate locations for future marine energy developments and reducing duplication of work in providing quality information.
The plan is one of four pilot projects under the umbrella of the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative (SSMEI) initiated by the Scottish government to inform future marine policy.
The marine atlas will help inform planning decisions in the seas around Shetland by demonstrating the interactions between the varying economic activities and priorities of marine users. It outlines existing constraints, designations and issues that might arise when applying for planning permission or a marine works licence.
The work has been undertaken by the marine renewables team at Natural Power, a specialist technical consultancy who have worked on a number of projects in the renewable energy sector globally.
The study was commissioned by the SIC and HIE, supported by European funding from the Cradle 2 Cradle Islands project under the Interreg IVB North Sea Programme.