Scotland approves 30MW West Islay tidal farm

The Scottish government has granted the planning consent for a tidal energy farm to be located off the south-west coast of Islay.

The approval, granted on June 21, 2017, is for the West Islay Tidal Energy Farm that will feature up to 30 tidal energy turbines.

With the generation capacity of up to 30MW, the farm could produce enough power to cover the needs of 18,000 homes.

The project, being developed by DP Marine Energy with its Belgian partner Bluepower, is expected to create up to 32 full time jobs, according to the Scottish government.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said: “Scotland has a third of UK’s tidal stream resources and two thirds of its wave resources. We are also home to the world’s leading wave and tidal test center, the world’s largest planned tidal stream array and the world’s largest tidal turbine.

“The West Islay Tidal Energy Park builds upon this strong foundation. Its 30 turbine array will generate up 30MW, enough to power almost 18,000 homes, helping us to generate more clean, green electricity in Scotland and to meet our climate change obligations.”

Welcoming the announcement, Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “This announcement shows the continued ambition of this young sector as well as underlining the local employment and economic benefits which renewable energy can bring to some of our country’s most remote areas.”

DP Energy said the design envelope for the project is based on a technology neutral methodology, enabling a wide range of turbine options to be included, such as fully submerged solutions, like the Andritz Hydro Hammesfest and Atlantis turbines recently deployed at MeyGen, as well as surface piercing solutions, and moored floating solutions such as the SR2000 device of ScotRenewables which recently reached peak power of 2MW at EMEC.

Simon De Pietro, CEO of DP Energy said: “West Islay is significant because it is the first time such a broad consenting envelope has been attempted successfully and the team will be reviewing technology options over the coming months to determine the best strategy for the development of the project.”

The Agreement for Lease for the West Islay tidal farm was secured in October 2011 and submission of the planning application followed in September 2013.

The construction of the project could begin in 2019, according to DP Energy.

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