Natural Power Helps Shetland Islands Council Map their Marine Renewable Resources (UK)


Natural Power’s marine renewables team have been working with Shetland Islands Council over the past 12 months to map their marine renewable resources as a follow on to the Council’s successful Marine Spatial Planning exercise and are looking forward to publishing the results in the spring of 2011.

Building on their successful resource modelling work in the United Kingdom, Canada and Latin America, Natural Power’s team of marine resource engineers developed innovative techniques to cost effectively map the wave and tidal energy resources of the Islands. These resource maps have successfully filled the gaps in existing data sets giving up to 50m resolution through the major tidal energy sites at Bluemull Sound and Yell Sound and refining the wave energy resource to 500m along the Shetland Islands coast.

The Shetland Islands Marine Spatial plan is one of four pilot projects under the umbrella of the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative (SSMEI). The SSMEI was initiated by the Scottish Government to inform future marine policy and to test new management framework options for Scotland’s marine and coastal environment. The plan consists of two parts – a policy document and a Marine Atlas highlighting important features and planning considerations around the Shetland coastline. It outlines existing constraints, designations and also issues that may arise when applying for planning permission or a works licence.

The Marine Atlas forms a key part of planning decision as the seas around Shetland become increasing busy with economic activity. The Council recognise marine renewable as an important future source of economic development but in drawing together the existing resource data sets found that the waters around Shetland were underrepresented. Natural Power was successfully invited to tender a proposal for the mapping of the wave and tidal resource.

Natural Power’s Technical Director, Neil Douglas, commented “It has been a pleasure to work on a public project where the benefits of our technical knowledge can be shared to assist in the development of the industry that we have been helping to drive forward for the past five years. We look forward to seeing marine projects coming through in the Shetland Islands and taking advantage of the abundant resources”.

David Priest, Senior Development Manager at Highland’s and Islands Enterprise added “This is a really useful piece of work and fills in a missing gap of information available on the seas around Shetland making it easier for developers to plan. It clearly demonstrates where the best wave and tidal energy is and shows how good resources are in and around Shetland waters.”


Source: naturalpower, October 14, 2011