Development of the largest tidal array in Europe today can now progress after Scottish Ministers awarded consent to build the first tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth.
MeyGen Limited, a competitor in the Scottish Government’s Saltire Prize, has been given the go ahead to install the tidal array in stages, beginning with a nine megawatt demonstration project of up to six turbines.
Ahead of the Scottish Renewables Marine Conference, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“Today, we have granted consent to MeyGen Limited to develop the largest tidal turbine array in Europe and the first commercial project off these shores.
“This is a major step forward for Scotland’s marine renewable energy industry. When fully operational, the 86 megawatt array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 42,000 homes – around 40 per cent of homes in the Highlands.
“This exciting development in the waters around Orkney is just the first phase for a site that could eventually yield up 398 megawatts.”
The Energy Minister will also announce that leading Scottish wave developers Aquamarine Power Limited and Pelamis Wave Power are to share a slice of a £13 million wave first array support programme – part of the Scottish Government’s Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund.
Mr Ewing said:
“The tide is also turning for the wave sector. Both wave and tidal technologies need support if we are to maintain our leading position in marine energy. The Scottish Government’s awards to Aquamarine Power Limited and Pelamis Wave Power will enable them to develop their technologies further so they can successfully deploy the first wave arrays.
“We must tackle climate change. We need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through better and more efficient uses of energy. Marine energy – a home grown technology with huge potential – is part of the solution.
“Last week I welcomed the Audit Scotland report that shows strong and strategic leadership from this government within the renewable sector is key to the successes to date. No government since devolution has embarked on such an ambitious programmes of investment to transform our renewable energy sector.”
Notes to editors
The Carbon Trust has estimated that wave and tidal resources could provide 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity if fully developed. Scotland’s technological leadership in marine energy means that the country is extremely well placed to capitalise on domestic and overseas markets and reap the benefits for Scottish communities.
MeyGen Limited is a Scottish-registered company and joint venture between investment bank Morgan Stanley, independent power generator International Power and tidal technology provider Atlantis Resources Corporation. MeyGen’s tidal energy project is located in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth off the north coast of Caithness.
The Scottish Government’s £18 million Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) was refocused in May 2013 in line with industry calls. The Wave First Array Support programme, a fund of up to £13 million, is aimed at accelerating wave energy technologies towards commercial readiness alongside their tidal counterparts.
The remaining £5 million of the MRCF will be used to support the enabling technologies needed alongside the first wave and tidal arrays. The Scottish Government’s Array Technology Innovation Programme is currently welcoming applications.
Details can be found at http://www.carbontrust.com/mrcf.
Grant awards under the Scottish Government’s MRCF scheme are subject to milestones to be specified in the grant award notice and to state aid approval by the European Commission.