World's First Tidal Energy Project Gets Approval

The world's first tidal power project is to be built in the Sound of Islay, after authorization was given by the Scottish Government.

The £40 million plan will be able to produce electricity for more than 5,000 homes - double the number on Islay.

The ten-turbine, 10MW facility, being developed by ScottishPower Renewables, will additionally develop rising tidal energy technology and is seen as a forerunner for much larger projects in the Pentland Firth.

Plans are under way to generate 1,600MW of marine energy in the firth, off Caithness, following the world's first commercial wave and tidal leasing round announced last year.

The approval of the Islay system was announced by finance secretary John Swinney, who determined the application as it is in energy minister Jim Mather's Argyll and Bute constituency.

Mr Swinney said it was the world's only project of its type with consent.

It is anticipated that more than £500,000 will be used up locally during the development phase. A commercial agreement has also been signed with Diageo, one of the biggest distillers on Islay, to use electricity from the project for eight distilleries and maltings.

The project is the first so called tidal array system to be approved by Marine Scotland, the directorate of Scottish Government liable for the management of Scotland's seas.

It will use turbines developed by Hammerfest Strøm, a company part-owned owned by Iberdrola, SPR's parent company.

A prototype device has been generating electricity in Norway for more than six years and the company is at present constructing the first device that will go into waters off Orkney for tests later this year.
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