Scotland is set to become home to the ‘largest tidal array in Europe’, after ministers gave the go ahead for a wave power project in the Pentland Firth.
MeyGen Limited will install the array in stages starting with six demonstration turbines (pictured) that will produce 9MW of power. Construction will begin in 2014, with the turbines commissioned in 2015.
The company has been given consent to build phase one of project, which will produce 86MW of power. It still needs permission for phase two which would bring the total to 398MW by 2020.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “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% of homes in the Highlands.”
Mr Ewing also announced that Scottish wave developers Aquamarine Power Limited and Pelamis Wave Power will receive a chunk of £13 million set aside for a wave power, as part of the Scottish Government’s Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund.
Estimates by the Carbon Trust suggest wave and tidal power could provide 20% of the UK’s electricity if properly developed and a recent study by Oxford University found the Pentland Firth alone could provide half of Scotland’s electricity.