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Tidal Energy ocean

Published on December 3rd, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

18

Race for Scotland's $15 Million Marine Energy Prize Begins

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December 3rd, 2008 by
 
ocean

Solving our energy crisis requires serious manpower— and serious incentives. That’s why Scotland has launched the $15 million (€10 million) Saltire Prize Challenge to create commercially viable wave or tidal power.

In order to win the award, teams have to prove out their technology in Scottish waters. The winning team is required to supply sea power for a two year period.

Ocean power is a big deal for Scotland, which has been called the “Saudi Arabia of marine energy”. The country holds a quarter of Europe’s wave power potential.

But while Scotland will certainly reap the majority of the benefits from the contest, other countries with lesser ocean power potential will still be able to make use of the technology— once marine power is economically viable, it will become much more attractive to nations around the world.

Photo Credit: NREL

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • political info

    I think you are right however Scotland is a small country, 1 billion would be about 200 for every citizen of the country.

  • political info

    I think you are right however Scotland is a small country, 1 billion would be about 200 for every citizen of the country.

  • Anon

    I don’t believe this overly ambitious (to put it mildly) concept was well thought out – from the standpoint of would-be competitors. Clearly it would require an investment of many multiples the award amount and many, many years of effort (at least 10) to come even close to the 100GwH of energy to be generated in the first attempt. This – likely – unattainable goal, will either guarantee that Scotland will never have to make good on any payment (while costing entrants many millions) and will exclude ALL individual, small, and medium size entities from participating, since any viable (single) device will cost at least $1-10M to develop and will probably not be successful. Since many of such devices would have to be built (and paid for) and work, simultaneously, and ‘perfectly’ for a continuous period of two years, I don’t think that there are many investors that would take such a ‘hugely risky’ bet, for a payoff that would be a small fraction of the original investment. Wouldn’t it be better to have a competition that would encourage as many innovative individuals and companies to participate, as possible, and make this an annual competition that would award smaller prizes over many years (until a clearly preferred method(s) is/are found)? Then there could be many smaller prizes awarded annually and 1-3 ‘grand prizes’ awarded after maybe a decade of such ‘annual’ competitions and investigations. Of coarse, this would require that the 100GhW ‘bar’ be reduced to something much more reasonable, like 1GhW/year, and that this annual goal be estimated over a 1-week long competition period.

    I would like to see dozens of technologies competing at the same time, with financing being a rather minor consideration and requirement. Only then would this competition truly serve the stated intention of seeking the very best technological approach from ANYWHERE in the world, instead of ‘something’ that only a huge corporation could possibly underwrite, or one that might give preference to a Scottish technology .

  • Anon

    I don’t believe this overly ambitious (to put it mildly) concept was well thought out – from the standpoint of would-be competitors. Clearly it would require an investment of many multiples the award amount and many, many years of effort (at least 10) to come even close to the 100GwH of energy to be generated in the first attempt. This – likely – unattainable goal, will either guarantee that Scotland will never have to make good on any payment (while costing entrants many millions) and will exclude ALL individual, small, and medium size entities from participating, since any viable (single) device will cost at least $1-10M to develop and will probably not be successful. Since many of such devices would have to be built (and paid for) and work, simultaneously, and ‘perfectly’ for a continuous period of two years, I don’t think that there are many investors that would take such a ‘hugely risky’ bet, for a payoff that would be a small fraction of the original investment. Wouldn’t it be better to have a competition that would encourage as many innovative individuals and companies to participate, as possible, and make this an annual competition that would award smaller prizes over many years (until a clearly preferred method(s) is/are found)? Then there could be many smaller prizes awarded annually and 1-3 ‘grand prizes’ awarded after maybe a decade of such ‘annual’ competitions and investigations. Of coarse, this would require that the 100GhW ‘bar’ be reduced to something much more reasonable, like 1GhW/year, and that this annual goal be estimated over a 1-week long competition period.

    I would like to see dozens of technologies competing at the same time, with financing being a rather minor consideration and requirement. Only then would this competition truly serve the stated intention of seeking the very best technological approach from ANYWHERE in the world, instead of ‘something’ that only a huge corporation could possibly underwrite, or one that might give preference to a Scottish technology .

  • Kepana

    Great project. However, the photo looks like a southeast view of the island of Oahu, Hawaii with Diamondhead in the background.

  • Kepana

    Great project. However, the photo looks like a southeast view of the island of Oahu, Hawaii with Diamondhead in the background.

  • http://www.acaiberrydrink.org/ J. Acai

    Hurray for Scotland doing something worthwhile. This is better than the X Prize.

  • http://www.acaiberrydrink.org/ J. Acai

    Hurray for Scotland doing something worthwhile. This is better than the X Prize.

  • kevgallacher

    Planet trashing people?

    Somehow I don’t think Scotlands population has as big an impact on the planet as other nations such as the USA or China. We have some of the cleanest air in the world and most of our countryside is unspoilt. And Scotland does invest a lot of cash into wind/wave/hyrdo energy. Not so much into Solar though.

  • kevgallacher

    Planet trashing people?

    Somehow I don’t think Scotlands population has as big an impact on the planet as other nations such as the USA or China. We have some of the cleanest air in the world and most of our countryside is unspoilt. And Scotland does invest a lot of cash into wind/wave/hyrdo energy. Not so much into Solar though.

  • Gray

    So presumably Matthew has the technology to to harness all that energy, or is he pathetic also? And I’m curious as to why Scots are referred to as ‘planet-trashing-people.’ How many other countries are offering such incentives?

  • Gray

    So presumably Matthew has the technology to to harness all that energy, or is he pathetic also? And I’m curious as to why Scots are referred to as ‘planet-trashing-people.’ How many other countries are offering such incentives?

  • http://apps.jooopa.net denwer

    hmmmmm…

  • http://apps.jooopa.net denwer

    hmmmmm…

  • Joe Blow

    Hey, be positive dude. I’m not sure that $15 million is a huge sum for the Scottish Parliament to be worrying themselves with. It’s a way to get people outside of the usual multibillion dollar corporations involved in creating solutions. I’m sure the parliament is busy working on other bills to push green technological development in the same direction.

  • Joe Blow

    Hey, be positive dude. I’m not sure that $15 million is a huge sum for the Scottish Parliament to be worrying themselves with. It’s a way to get people outside of the usual multibillion dollar corporations involved in creating solutions. I’m sure the parliament is busy working on other bills to push green technological development in the same direction.

  • Mathew

    About time – except why does it always have to be a prize? What’s wrong with the Scottish Parliament pointing out to their planet-trashing-people how they are surrounded by sea, all of it extremely active with big waves and big tides? Being unable to harness that energy is just pathetic.

  • Mathew

    About time – except why does it always have to be a prize? What’s wrong with the Scottish Parliament pointing out to their planet-trashing-people how they are surrounded by sea, all of it extremely active with big waves and big tides? Being unable to harness that energy is just pathetic.

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