(The Scottish Government puts its money
where its green mouth is)
The Scottish Government has launched the Saltire
Prize which aims “to unleash Scotland’s massive green
potential”. The prize itself will be £10 million which will
be awarded to the team that can demonstrate a commercially viable
wave or tidal energy technology in Scottish waters. This technology
must be capable of producing a minimum of 100 Gwh over a continuous
period of 2 years using only the power of the sea. The entries will
also be judged on cost, environmental sustainability and
The Scottish Government are likening the prize to
the Ansari X Prize which offered $10 million for the team achieving
the first private spacecraft launch. This offer generated over $100
million of investment in research and development in the aviation
sector. The hope is that the Saltire Prize will have a similar, if
not better, effect.
Timetable for the prize
The prize was initially launched in December 2008.
The Scottish Government has issued draft guidelines for the
competition and is welcoming any comments. This public consultation
will end on 24 April 2009. The responses will then be considered
and a report on the consultation will be published by the summer,
which will coincide with the publication of the finalised
guidelines. The Grand Challenge will begin in January 2010 with the
winner being announced in Spring 2015.
The draft guidelines highlight the Scottish
Government’s stated commitment to environmentally friendly
technology. Applicants will be required to complete an
Environmental Impact Assessment and to calculate the carbon
footprint of each device used. Furthermore, the draft guidelines
require applicants to submit a business plan with their
application. The prize is more than an academic exercise to see if
applicants are capable of producing the required electrical output.
Instead, it is aimed at finding a solution which will be capable of
competing on a global open energy generation market.
The prize will fulfil a commitment made by the SNP
(which now forms the Scottish Government) in their 2007 manifesto
to support emerging technologies that can contribute to sustainable
power generation. It is the belief of the Scottish Government that
50% of Scotland’s electricity can be generated from renewable
energy sources by 2020. It has set an interim target of 31% by
2011. Scotland has the potential resources to meet these targets.
Indeed, it is estimated that there are 21.5 GW of commercial marine
energy capacity that could be harnessed from the waters around
Scotland. Hopefully the Saltire Prize will go some way towards
unleashing this potential.
Full details of the prize and the draft guidelines
are available here.