The Crown Estate, which owns the seabed around the UK, has announced plans to offer further leases for wave and tidal energy projects in Scottish waters, in connection with the Scottish Government’s Saltire Prize. It has also detailed its approach for companies to apply for demonstration project leases for sites around the UK.
In Scotland, companies will be invited to propose projects up to 30 MW capacity through a new competition framework, with a series of six monthly application windows, the first of which will open in October 2010. This will give developers further opportunities to compete for the Saltire Prize, a £10 million incentive offered by the Scottish Government to encourage development of wave and tidal stream energy.
Seeing increasing interest in wave and tidal demonstration projects up to 10 MW, The Crown Estate is also updating the application process for demonstration project leases. Companies will be invited to apply through the same competition framework, which will give greater certainty about the process to lease award.
“The Saltire Prize is our £10 million challenge to the world to push back the boundaries of marine energy innovation. We already have two confirmed Saltire Prize applicants and over 150 registrations of interest from around the world,” says Scottish Government’s Energy Minister, Jim Mather. “We greatly value our strong working relationship with The Crown Estate Commissioners as it helps us all to ensure that Scotland leads the UK in giving wave and tidal energy developers opportunities to harness the power of our seas. This welcome new leasing round supporting Saltire Prize applicants opens up Scotland’s seas for further development and sends a global signal that Scotland is the place to invest in marine renewables.”
Expressions of interest for the Saltire Prize (in Scotland) and demonstration projects (around the UK) will be invited from Monday 11th October 2010 using The Crown Estate’s e-tendering system. A web link to the e-tendering system will be issued on this date, which will mark the start of the first application window. Depending on the level of interest and developers’ bids, projects could be awarded agreements for lease as early as March 2011. The second application window is anticipated to start in April 2011.
The announcement comes after the successful conclusion in March 2010 of the first UK wave and tidal leasing round, which led to plans for ten projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters. An eleventh project in this area, at a site known as the Inner Sound, is currently being re-tendered and a separate announcement will be made shortly.