ScottishPower Renewables is planning to develop a 10MW tidal power array in The Sound of Islay on Scotland’s west coast. The project, the first of its kind in the world, envisages generating enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of the whole island. It is also the first tidal array project to be approved by Marine Scotland, the directorate of Scottish Government responsible for the management of Scotland’s seas.
ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) plans to install ten tidal turbines, each capable of producing 1 MW of electricity. The project will use HS1000 tidal turbines developed by Hammerfest Strom, a company partly-owned owned by Iberdrola (SPR’s parent company). Seen as one of the world’s most advanced tidal turbine designs, a prototype device has been generating electricity in Norway for over six years. The company is currently constructing the first HS1000 device that will go into waters off Orkney later this year.
Scotland is widely regarded as having the best tidal power resources anywhere in the world and the progression to demonstration projects is seen as a vital step towards fully realising this potential. The Islay project will play a key role in proving a range of factors necessary for the large scale deployment of the technology. This will include developing a better understanding of the technical aspects involved in deploying and maintaining machines and bringing forward systems to monitor and analyse their performance.
A commercial agreement has been signed with Diageo, one of the largest distillers on Islay, to provide electricity from the project to eight distilleries and maltings.
SPR also developing a 95 turbine tidal project at Ness of Duncansbay in the Pentland Firth as part of The Crown Estate’s first marine energy leasing round. SPR has entered the Ness of Duncansbay project into the Scottish Government’s £10 million Saltire Prize for marine energy innovation.