Scotland's "Orcadians" Lead The Way In Energy Self-Sufficiency

The announcement of a prize challenge for renewable energy machine development is a small but shining carrot for the industry. Meanwhile, residents on Scotland's Orkney Islands are leading the way in energy self-sufficiency.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

On Tuesday, Scotland announced the Saltire Prize challenge, with £10 million (about $15.8 million) to be given to the first company whose energy-renewable wave and tidal power machines "produce at least 100 gigawatt hours of electricity over a continuous two-year period between now and 2017." The announcement was made on the Orkney Islands, which is already considered one of the world's most self-sufficient energy communities. Four firms have entered their devices to date.

What's the Big Idea?

Although some are skeptical about the prize's cost-to-value ratio, others believe that its existence provides a boost to the renewables industry, which is getting ever closer to creating machines that will replace fossil fuel-based power stations. It's even better news for Orkney residents (known as "Orcadians"), who have long paid some of the highest energy bills in the UK and are extra motivated to harness the power of nature. With publicly and privately owned wind turbines, solar panels, and ground-source heat pumps proliferating, one industry expert estimates that "85% of Orkney's entire electricity demand will be met by its home-grown renewables industry by early 2013."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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