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New wave of funding for marine energy sector

A second round of investment supports R&D to boost the Scottish renewable revolution. Jamie Mckenzie reports.

A £6m investment in the wave and tidal energy sector to further develop testing of new wave and tidal prototypes in the seas around Scotland has been announced.

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A second round of investment supports R&D to boost the Scottish renewable revolution.

A £6m investment in the wave and tidal energy sector to further develop testing of new wave and tidal prototypes in the seas around Scotland has been announced.

It is the second round of the remaining competitive funding from the initial £13m Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development and Demonstration support (WATERS) fund, launched in March 2010.

Named WATERS 2, the £6m boost is a collaborative venture between Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It will promote research and development aimed at improving the operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness of marine renewable devices, ultimately bringing them to commercial application.

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said, “With £6m to award, we can help advanced wave and tidal technologies reach the next stage of commercial exploitation – creating new technologies with global potential, research and development jobs, and secure the fabrication and deployment of wave and tidal stream technologies in Scotland”.

Approximately 10% of Europe’s wave power is off Scotland’s coasts, and the country boasts 25% of Europe’s tidal stream potential, according to The Offshore Valuation, 2010 . This reflects a high marine renewable energy propensity and creates a big appetite for marine energy technology research and development. WATERS 2 can help feed that appetite.

Indeed, the first stage of WATERS funding brought almost £7m in grants to four innovative marine projects across Scotland, including Aquamarine Power’s Oyster 3 project at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, which received £3.15m in 2010.

As Alex Paterson, chief executive of Highlands & Islands Enterprise, said, “The announcement of WATERS 2 today will enable developers to further their research and development towards the development of arrays, particularly in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters”.

Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said, “Scotland is leading the world in the development of marine renewable energy.

“A wide range of both Scottish firms and major overseas companies such as Alstom, ABB, E.ON, Vattenfall and Kawasaki are investing in the development and testing of wave and tidal generation technologies in Scottish waters.

“It is increasingly clear that Scotland rules the waves!

The overall aim of this latest round of wave and tidal power funding is to allow Scottish developers and supply chain companies to capture an increased share of the growing UK, European and Global marine energy market, which could be worth £4 billion to Scotland’s economy by 2020, according to the Government. Further, accelerating the growth of a more cost-effective wave and tidal power industry in Scotland will be critical towards the SNP’s target of generating 100% gross annual electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2020.

The nation is now a leader in the global shift away from fossil fuel consumption, and the full WATERS fund is a critical step in the development of a marine renewable energy sector intrinsic to the country’s wider renewables revolution.

Blue & Green Tomorrow has previously uncovered some of the other renewable routes Scotland has taken in its road to sustainable development: the trial of a giant two-bladed wind turbine off the coast of Methil in Fife, and exploring the investment plans for renewable energy projects in Scotland to be hooked up to the UK grid.

Along with the wave and tidal energy sub-sectors, Scotland’s magnitude for producing electricity from both onshore and offshore wind will be paramount. Often famed for its mountainous landscape, turbulent seas and blustery winds, it is the perfect illustration of a country with the high-energy potential to produce a clean, sustainable future. Blue & Green Tomorrow will help you keep track of Scotland’s progress towards a 100% renewable energy future.

If you would like to learn more about how to generate renewable electricity, visit Good Energy – the UK’s only 100% renewable energy provider.

Photo: Jack_Spellingbacon via Flickr

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Environment

Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family

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Greenest Vehicle
Licensed Image by Shutterstock - By Mascha Tace -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/maschatace

When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?

What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?

As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.

Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.

5 Good Options

As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:

1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country

Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.

2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.

4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.

5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel

If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?

Putting it All Together

You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.

You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

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Environment

How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life

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Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Rawpixel.com -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/rawpixel

Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

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