Ocean to power homes

Posted on 16 Mar 2010 by The Manufacturer

Wave and tidal energy producers have been awarded an unprecedented 1.2GW of tidal energy project leases in waters around Pentland Firth and Orkney.

The Crown Estate announced the leases today as a part of its Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Strategic Area leasing round. The leases consist of six wave energy projects totalling 600MW and four tidal projects amounting to 600MW.

The sites were awarded to a number of utilities and advanced technology developers including Marine Current Turbines (MCT), Pelamis Wave Power, SSE Renewables Developments – joining forces with Aquamarine and Open Hydro, Scottish Power Renewables and EON.

According to Oliver Wragg, RenewableUK Wave and Tidal Development Manager, the announcement is very welcome and exciting news for the industry. “The leasing round has exceeded all expectations by awarding 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of project leases, considerably up from the originally scheduled 700 megawatts (MW). This clearly demonstrates that the industry has now reached a stage where it is ready to deliver.”

MCT has secured approval to deploy its award-winning SeaGen tidal current technology off Brough Ness, on the southernmost tip of the Orkney Islands (South Ronaldsay) and north east of John O’Groats. The company plans to have its first phase of SeaGen tidal turbines deployed during 2017 with the whole scheme operational by 2020.

Marine Current Turbines (MCT) is planning to install 66 SeaGen tidal turbines, each capable of producing 1.5MW, in three phases over a four year period in a site area of 4.3 square kilometres. The Brough Ness tidal array will have a total generating capacity of 99MW – enough power for nearly 100,000 homes.

“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,” says Martin Wright, Managing Director of MCT. “I believe that MCT is in a very strong position to capitalise on this significant and challenging opportunity. MCT already has the valuable experience of deploying and operating SeaGen in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough and within the next two to three years we expect to have deployed our first tidal farm in UK waters.”