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1.2 GW Scottish wave and tidal leasing round announced

1.2 GW of wave and tidal across 10 sites in Scotland’s Pentland Firth and Orkney waters have been announced in the Crown Estate’s first wave and tidal energy leasing round.

The proposed 1.2 GW of wave and tidal is expected to be ready for 2020 with 600 MW each from wave and tidal.

The developers chosen from 20 companies bidding for 42 sites, are:

  • SSE Renewables Development Ltd, 200 MW for Costa Head site
  • Aquamarine Power Ltd & SSE Renewables Developments Ltd, 200 MW for Brough Head site
  • ScottishPower Renewables UK Ltd, 50 MW for Marwick Head site
  • E.ON, 50 MW for West Orkney South site
  • E.ON, 50 MW for West Orkney Middle South site
  • Pelamis Wave Power Ltd, 50 MW for Armadale site
  • SSE Renewables Development (UK) Ltd, 200 MW for Westray South site
  • SSE Renewables Holdings (UK) Ltd & OpenHydro Site Development Ltd, 200 MW for Cantick Head site
  • Marine Current Turbines Ltd, 100 MW for Brough Ness site
  • ScottishPower Renewables UK Ltd, 100 MW for Ness of Duncansby site

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, says: “These waters have been described as the Saudi Arabia of marine power and the wave and tidal projects unveiled today – exceeding the initial 700 MW target capacity – underline the rich natural resources of the waters off Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is working with The Crown Estate, developers and key partners to support this rapidly-growing industry, to ensure communities such as those in Caithness and Orkney are well-placed to reap the benefits and to secure Scotland’s position as the green energy powerhouse of Europe.”

William Roe, Chair of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), says: “This announcement signals the first step towards the commercialisation of marine renewable energy generation from the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.”

Orkney Islands Council Convener, Stephen Hagan, adds: “Our involvement in renewable energy stretches back for decades with years of academic study into marine resources. Today, 40% of our electricity needs are already being met from renewables.

“Orkney boasts an ideal combination of natural resources and centuries of essential maritime expertise. We continue to invest in our maritime facilities and skills and look forward to expanding the expertise and knowledge on the islands which support this new industry and energy source.

A selection of the wave and tidal developers

Aquamarine Power

Aquamarine Power, together with SSE Renewables, will deploy Aquamarine’s Oyster hydro-electric wave power devices off the coast of Orkney in 2013. The wave power devices will be deployed in small clusters off mainland Orkney running from Costa Head in the north to Neban Point in the southwest.

The proposed wave farm is expected to have an installed capacity of 200 MW.

Martin McAdam, CEO of Aquamarine, says: “The Crown Estate’s leasing round is a significant milestone for the marine energy sector and is a key step towards the industry’s commercialisation, enabling it to meet its full potential to deliver clean sustainable power as well as highly skilled long-term employment.”

Aquamarine Power and SSE Renewables will now work with The Crown Estate, Orkney Islands Council and other stakeholders to obtain necessary consent for deployment.

The two companies have an agreement to develop up to 1 GW of Oyster wave farm sites in the UK and Ireland by 2020.

Marine Current Turbines

Marine Current Turbines Ltd will deploy its SeaGen tidal current device off Brough Ness, the southernmost tip of the Orkney Islands and north east of John O’Groats. Marine Current Turbines is aiming to secure planning and environment consents by 2015 with construction starting in 2016. The first tidal turbines could be deployed during 2017, with the whole scheme operation by 2020.

The plan is to install 66 SeaGen tidal turbines with a capacity of 99 MW In total over a four year period across 4.3 km2. However, Marine Current Turbines says that the timing of construction and deployment will be dependent on the local grid infrastructure being strengthened.”

Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines, says: “The Pentland Firth and Orkney waters are strategically the most important marine energy areas in Western Europe so we are delighted to have secured approval for a lease by The Crown Estate.”

The tidal turbine developer says it will look to companies in the Orkneys and Caithness & Sunderland to support the tidal project. Wright adds: “We recognise that the local supply chain could provide us with valuable expertise, not least in marine and port services, and in engineering and fabrication. We are very keen to work with local companies and the local agencies so that they can share in this exciting opportunity.”

The 1.2 MW SeaGen tidal turbine has already been in operation for more than 1000 hours in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough.

Pelamis Wave Power Ltd

Pelamis Wave Power plans to deploy 50 MW of wave power devices at the Armadale site offshore from Bettyhill, Sunderland, where Pelamis secured a grid connection in 2008. Pelamis says that with a mainland grid connection, “the Armadale project represents the only proposed wave farm in Scotland that is not dependent on an island transmission upgrade.”

Pelamis will also develop a 50 MW wave project with E.ON UK off the coast of the Orkney Islands, and a 50 MW wave project with ScottishPower Renewables, also off the coast of the Orkney Islands.

Neels Kriek, CEO at Pelamis Wave Power, says: “The Crown Estate’s process has set our industry on course towards delivering marine projects of utility scale, and PWP is delighted that both ScottishPower Renewables and E.ON UK endorsed our technology in their applications. We are proudly and uniquely aligned in our respective goals for delivering renewable energy through multiple commercial Pelamis projects in the next five to 10 years.”

“The challenges associated with the ambitions which have been set today are significant, and the team at PWP are energised to embrace these challenges to the benefit of ScottishPower Renewables, our other customers and the UK low carbon economy objectives.”

The first full-scale Pelamis wave device prototype was installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney between 2004 and 2007. Pelamis is currently in the final stages of building the first Pelamis P2 wave energy machine for E.ON, which is due to be installed at EMEC this summer.

ScottishPower Renewables

Keith Anderson, Director of ScottishPower Renewables, says: “As well as the environmental benefits that will come from developing this major new source of renewable energy, marine power also represents wider economic opportunities in terms of creating a new industry and new skill sets that could be exported all over the world.

“Marine power will be a key part of our business going forward, building on our considerable onshore and offshore wind portfolio, and we have ambitions to investigate and develop further wave and tidal power projects in the coming years.”

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