Scotland’s tidal energy expertise to help poor communities in South-East Asia


A new four-turbine platform built in Peterhead is to be tested in the Connel Sound near Oban. The Connel Sound as many of you will know is suitably turbulent and will give the equipment a thorough going over.

Once tested it will be moved to South-East Asia to help small communities currently relying on unreliable fuel powered generators.

The device was built by JBS Group (Scotland) in Peterhead. This is a positive development in two senses with the platform being designed and built in Scotland as well as being used to help in less developed parts of the world.

No specific link was made with the pioneering single turbine operating in Orkney or with the giant plant in the Pentland Firth but perhaps we can assume some insights derived from the experience of building and installing these earlier examples:

Orkney’s giant tidal turbine is the world’s most powerful

As world’s largest tidal energy plant in Pentland Firth generates 1GWh which is enough for 700 000 homes, will Scotland become the most energy-rich country in Europe?

Tidal devices have tremendous advantages over other technologies:

  1. A Very Predictable Energy Source: Ever since the beginning of time itself, the oceans have had tides. Massive amounts of water move in extremely predictable patterns. This makes it very easy to harness the energy that these tides can generate, because we can predict their movements as far as years ahead.
  2. An Inexhaustible Source of Energy: There will be no shortage of tides anytime soon. They are controlled by the gravitational pull between the earth, sun, and moon. This means that as long as the earth is being orbited by the moon, the tides will continue to be there producing energy.
  3. Very Low Costs To Operate: Once the initial constructions costs are done, there are very few additional costs to keep the tidal energy plant up and running. Little maintenance is required, and minimal personnel as well.
  4. Effective Even at Low Speeds: Since water is much denser than air, the amount of movement needed to generate power is very low. It has been proven that tidal energy can still be harnessed even if the water is only moving at 3 feet per second.
  5. Can Last Forever: Okay, maybe not literally forever, but a very long time! Tidal energy plants are very simple, and made of durable and simple materials that can withstand the time very well.
  6. Completely Green: There are no carbon emissions from tidal energy plants, making it an energy source that does not negatively affect the global environment.


4 thoughts on “Scotland’s tidal energy expertise to help poor communities in South-East Asia

  1. macgilleleabhar November 28, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    Machines like that should be “Clyde built” in both senses.

    Liked by 1 person

      • macgilleleabhar November 28, 2017 / 10:07 pm

        Yes. The North East has got to keep up with the growth of renewable energy as well as hold onto the oil industry expertise.
        At the same time it would be beneficial to get the manufacturing of renewable energy production machinery wide spread in Scotland.
        The Scottish Government support of Bi fab gave out a positive message to the industry at an important time in it’s development by showing understanding and commitment .

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alasdair Macdonald November 29, 2017 / 9:54 am

        I agree with Macgilleleabhar here.

        While there will be differences between oil and gas and renewables in terms of technology and work practices, there will also be similarities. The workforces involved in both are disciplined, and with appropriate retraining can adapt to changing circumstances.

        Some decades ago in New England, when many of the traditional industries were in decline, there were significant retraining initiatives, which built on already existing disciplines. It was also helped by the area having centres of excellence like Harvard, MIT and other universities who were continuously pushing out new ideas and having an entrepreneurial culture to implement these.

        In Scotland, we have such centres of excellence – five in the world’s top 200 – and we also have well-educated skilled workforces. So, it is certainly feasible to develop centres of excellence around Scotland. Indeed, we have many. With political will and a government support structure, such as a National Investment Bank, then a self-sustaining culture can be embedded.

        Liked by 1 person

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