By the Power of .... Pentland Firth!

Not Castle Greyskull then?... Hmm.. OK, I can roll with that. To be honest, He-Man always came across as a bit effeminate to me, but anyway, I digress, and if you don't know what that was all about, you can read it up here: if you must.

Pentland Firth is the stretch of water between the northern tip of mainland Scotland (John O'Groats) and Hoy & South Ronaldsey which are the Southernmost parts the the Orkney mainland.

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This spot is about to become the source of some clean, green energy generation technology that's larger than any other in the world.

A company called Atlantis Resources (I like them already with a name like that - I wonder if they refer to their CEO as "The Man from Atlantis" ?) unveiled an enormous tidal turbine device (known as the AK-1000) on Thursday in Invergordon. OK, perhaps enormous is a bit of an exhageration. A typical 3-5 Megawatt offshore wind turbine has a blade diameter of approximatly 120 meters.. The Atlantis AK-1000 1MegaWatt turbine has a blade diameter of just 18 meters - so actually, by comparison, it's tiny.

The reason it's so small and yet still so powerful is down to physics. Water is 832 times denser than air, meaning you can generate similar amounts of power with much smaller blade sizes. This has the added benefit of being able to cram more of them in underwater, and of course you can't see them either. Theoretically everyone's happy. Anyway, you can read all about the projects they're working on at the Atlantis Resources website.

There was a stand out fact for me there though. Namely this:
It is estimated that in the United Kingdom, there is 18TWh/yr of technically extractable tidal current resource. 40% of this technically extractable resource is concentrated in the far north of Scotland (Pentland Firth and Orkney Islands).
18TWh/yr. How much is that then ? Interestingly enough it's an insane amount. I've had a look at the "BMRS" website, here for the most up to date and accurate numbers.
This BMRS website provides near real time and historic data about the Balancing Mechanism which is used by the National Grid (System Operator) as a means of balancing power flows on to and off the electricity Transmission System in Great Britain.
  In summary:
  • 18TWh is 18,000,000 MWh. 
  • Current UK consumption is 33,800 and 41,000 MWh per day. 
  • Therefore 18TWh would provide enough energy for the entire UK for 439 Days (or 1.2 years)
Can somone remind me again why we're NOT going all out to get the full 18MWh's worth installed? I mean there's plenty of Sea down here by Torquay.  Get and stick some windmills under it, then all these Silver surfers that have retired to these parts won't have to have tax payer funded subsidies to pay their electricty bills, and that would mean I could afford to play more golf.....   Maybe.... 

OK - it is highly possible that I'm over simplifying here - but you get the idea.

Happy Saturday - Four!!!!