The wave and tidal energy project applications range from 10 MW demonstration sites all the way up to the highest band of 200-300 MW commercial sites, and have come from small developers through to multi-national energy companies.
The aim of the Crown Estate in partnership with Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), is to have successful wave and tidal device deployment enabling generation of over 700MW of renewable power from the Pentland Firth Strategic Area by 2020.
The Crown Estate says it will use option fees paid by developers and an equivalent investment from its own funds in order to de-risk and accelerate the development of tidal and wave energy projects in the area.
The strong response to the competitive tender demonstrates a real drive to develop the industry and create a strong marine energy sector in the UK. However, this is heavily dependent on implementing solutions to a number of issues including; grid, consenting processes, supply chain and economic support for the projects, the Crown Estate adds.
First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, says: “The Pentland Firth has the potential to become the Saudi Arabia of marine power, and the vast potential of this area will deliver more investment, jobs and opportunities to communities in and around the Pentland Firth and Orkney, and benefit to the whole of Scotland.
“Scotland boasts a quarter of Europe’s wave and tidal resource, and we are leading the way in developing these technologies through the world’s only accredited wave and tidal testing centre, the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, and the Scottish Government’s £10 million Saltire Prize - one of the biggest international Government innovation prizes in history,” he adds.
A detailed and confidential evaluation process of the bids will now be carried out by the Crown Estate to identify those bids that demonstrate the capabilities and commitment necessary to safely deploy wave or tidal energy devices in the Pentland Firth Strategic Area.
Negotiations with prospective developers will take place over the summer, prior to awarding agreements for lease.