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Scotland propelled towards green future by first major tidal turbine - Scotsman.com News

SCOTLAND'S first commercial-scale tidal turbine has been connected to the electricity grid off the Orkney coast and begun generating power.
The gigantic machine which resembles an underwater wind turbine weighs 1,500 tonnes and stands 70 feet off the seabed.
Atlantis Resources Corporation hopes the 1MW device, known as AR1000, will generate enough electricity annually to power about 1,000 homes.
Tidal turbines harness the energy provided by the movement of the tides and supporters say they will provide a predictable, reliable source of green electricity.
However, questions remain about whether the technology will be effective, the impact of tidal renewable energy on marine life and some concerns have been raised by shipping and fishing groups

Genuinely I hope it works, A far better idea than wind. But the cost of building them in such a hostile environment may, I fear, scupper them.

Comments

Okay, let's do the maths:

According to the article, this plant has a nameplate generating capacity of 1Megawatt. In other words it can theoretically produce about 61320 MWh each year. And from this machine it is HOPED (not planned, you'll note) to provide power to 1000 homes.

So how much power does 1000 homes consume?

According to this site [http://www.esru.strath.ac.uk/EandE/Web_sites/01-02/RE_info/hec.htm] the average Scottish home uses about 4000kWh per annum. Therefore our nominal village would use about 4MWh per annum.

So unless someone has gotten his numbers seriously up buggered, this means the HOPED FOR capacity factor for this instalation is 4/61320 or 6.52%. That's about a quarter of the capacity factor of the best wind turbines (25%) and anyone who understands power generation knows they are just about the most inefficientproducers of power. Or at least they were until AR1000 started whirling.

Then again, Atlantis Resources website quotes their Pentland Firth project as a 398MW capacity providing electricity to 40,000 homes. Using the same logic this gives a capacity factor of 0.66%.

Methinks people, including the company building this infernal machine, don't know the difference between megawatts and megawatt hours.

@RM: you're probably right. But whatever its capacity is, it is predictable, reliable, happens at known times and with known power variations (due to neaps and springs and all that stuff).

So it is far far better than stupid pointless windmills.

Whether it's competitive with anything else is another matter. What's the subsidy, I wonder?

I agree that the environment will probably scupper it; sea-water is awfully corrosive stuff.

Roll on Thorium reactors, is what I say.

Andrew,

Yes, tides are predictable etc, but they also change over time (advancing about 40 minutes per day). This means that the periods of maximum output will quite often be at times of low demand. That don't make these things very efficient.

This post is great to encourage people, that it can be exhilarating so different!

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