A Scottish-based project, TeraWatt, that will help to minimise the environmental impact of marine renewable energy projects has been awarded £1m funding.
TeraWatt, is coordinated by MASTS (The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland) and funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK). The three year project will develop computer based numerical models to simulate the effects of extracting energy using wave and tidal renewable energy devices on the marine environment. Led by Heriot-Watt University, in partnership with the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Swansea, the Highlands and Islands and Marine Scotland Science, TeraWatt will provide a vital tool for licensing authorities and decision makers about the potential siting of marine renewable energy devices and arrays.
Professor Jon Side, of Heriot-Watt's International Centre for Island Technology in Orkney, said, "Scotland's coastline offers great potential for wave and tidal energy production, and Scotland is at the forefront of the development of marine renewable technologies and ocean energy exploitation, but it's important that in the move to renewable energy we take care to avoid developments which might harm our marine eco-systems."
"Any proposed marine renewable energy device or array will be subject to an environmental impact assessment, and TeraWatt will offer decision makers specific, targeted predictions of the impact individual developments may have, and where they should be allowed to go ahead. Careful and informed selection of sites will allow the optimum exploitation of available wave and tidal energy whilst minimising any potential environmental impacts."
TeraWatt will offer decision makers specific, targeted predictions of the impact individual developments may have, and where they should be allowed to go aheadProfessor Jon Side, Heriot-Watt's International Centre for Island Technology in Orkney
Professor David Paterson, MASTS Executive Director, said, "The TeraWatt project is an excellent example of what the Scottish marine research community can achieve by working in partnership. It is vital to assess in advance the probable impact of what happens when wave and tidal energy devices extract energy from the sea. TeraWatt will use the Pentland Firth and the waters around Orkney to develop models which will help to predict the physical and ecological consequences of wave and tidal energy extraction. The project represents another important step forward in Scotland's ambition to become a world leader in renewables technology development."
TeraWatt is part of a national programme of research co-ordinated through the SUPERGEN UK Centre for Marine Energy Research led by Edinburgh University. This virtual Centre conducts world-class fundamental and applied research that assists the marine energy sector in the UK to reliably and dependably accelerate deployment rates and ensure sustained growth in generating capacity to meet the 2020 targets.