Headline on Scotsman: “Pentland Firth tides ‘can power half of Scotland’”. Show me.

Saw <a href=”http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/pentland-firth-tides-can-power-half-of-scotland-1-3274462″>this</a&gt; on the front page of the dead tree version of the Scotsman newspaper today.

But …

: At what capital cost and what is annual revenue, e.g. profitability?

: How much is useable energy given that a lot of Scotland, the “half of Scotland” they refer to, is hundreds of miles away and there will be significant power loss through the grid. 

: given that tidal energy is in approximately 12 hour cycles, where will energy come when there is no or little tide flowing?

: what is the environmental impact on fish, animals, people, etc. if the flow in the Pentland firth is restricted?

: They say “pollution-free” energy … surely there will be emissions of some sort? For example, lubricants in the turbines will surely leak, water flows will be distrubed probably causing increase in turbity, impact of power transmission lines, etc.  What does “pollution-free” mean? Has there been an environmental assessment to confirm this statement?

: They say “The sooner we can start the greater the chance Scotland will have at becoming the world leader in developing the technologies to turn tidal power into clean, green electricity.” Is the goal to generate (economical) power, or is the goal to be a “world leader”? What are risks of being “world leader”? Scotland goes first and is then lumbered with second or third best for generations.

: They say “Tests have calculated that as much as 4.2GW could be captured, but the engineers say 1.9GW is a more realistic target because tidal turbines are not 100 per cent efficient.” What has to happen to make “could” a reality? Does this mean they did tests which hit 100% efficiency to get 4.2 GW? This statement makes no sense on this own. They need to go back to their Thermodynamics course. What is the turbine’s efficiency?


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