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Archive for April, 2014

The scale of the renewable energy sector

Friday, April 4th, 2014

As the new girl in the Energy team at HIE, it was important for me to get out and about, visiting the key sites of renewable energy activity in Scotland.  It was a fascinating trip last week.  What struck me was the sheer scale of some of the renewable energy devices. Getting close up to wind turbines is quite an experiece.  This is a fairly mature technology now and, with the consents to develop the Beatrice and MORL fields now agreed, this sector is pushing ahead.

SMART grid solutions and cabling technology are all playing their part in resolving the grid capacity issues but there is no doubt further solutions are still required.  The island interconnector is a crucial part of this mix and HIE is at the forefront of pushing this forward.  Also important is the ability to control power delivery from the renewables devices and clever communications technlogy is playing a part in developing message systems to switch things off and on as required.   Storage is also an issue and again more work is being to resolve the need to store power generated at renewables sites.

What I came away with from my visits is that it is  vital we hold our nerve as we support the development of these new technologies, particularly in wave and tidal energy.  The early stages of power generation has always been expensive per unit. This is nothing new. But we have no alternative but to develop alternatives to fossil fuels now and for future generations.  Resolving the capacity issues have to be long term solutions and sustainable ones too.  Hold your nerve as we work towards solutions.  We will.