The £10 million Saltire Prize Challenge – a brainwave competition created by former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and run by the Scottish Government to see who can produce the most electricity using only the power of the sea – is now entering its final stages.
The deadline for applications to the competition – which opened in March 2020 – is January 2015.
The Saltire prize aims to replicate the success of prizes such as Ansari X which led to the first private spaceflight
The prize was first proposed in Washington DC by Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister and Scottish National party leader, in April 2008, to boost investment and expertise in marine renewables and to promote the significant potential of Scottish coastal waters
The prize was created to accelerate the commercial development of wave and tidal energy technology and is overseen by the Challenge Committee.
It is open to any individual, team or organisation from across the world who believes they have wave or tidal energy technology capable of fulfilling the challenge.
Already there are five interim Saltire Prize Competitors with generators off the Isle of Lewis, Farr Point, the Inner Sound Pentland Firth, the Ness of Duncansby, and Islay.
The winner will be the individual, team or organisation that achieves the greatest volume of electrical output over the set minimum hurdle of 100 gigawatt hours over a continuous two year period, using only the power of the sea.
Although privately concerned by the modest number of applications received, organisers have stressed that ‘quality’ is important.
Somewhat unusually for a prize of this magnitude only a relatively small proportion of funds have been spent on advertising the prize – a total of some £100,000 since 2008 – as the overall aim is to “showcase Scotland’s many great strengths and expertise in marine renewables and positioning Scotland as the place for marine energy investment and development”.
The sector has suffered setbacks this month with two prominent Edinburgh-based wave power developers cutting jobs and – in one case – collapsing into Administration.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The Saltire Prize sets a considerable challenge to competitors – reflecting the huge potential of harnessing marine energy.
“The competitors have stepped up to the challenge, and in so doing can drive each other still further and faster forward, towards the goal of large-scale commercial electricity generation from the power of the world’s seas and oceans.”
To gain Saltire Prize applicant status, teams must complete the application form and provide evidence to the secretariat that the appropriate Agreement for Lease has been granted by the Crown Estate.