Highlands & Islands

Pentland Firth tidal project set for development

ocean waves
Image caption The scheme is part of efforts to develop the world's largest wave and tidal generating programme

A huge tidal project is set to be developed in the Pentland Firth after the rights to the site were awarded to a consortium by the Crown Estate.

It has described the Inner Sound, which lies between the Caithness coast and island of Stroma, as one of the Firth's "most energetic" tidal areas.

The scheme could involve up to 400 submerged turbines, generating enough energy to power 400,000 homes.

A 25-year operational lease for the site was awarded to MeyGen.

It is a joint venture between tidal technology provider Atlantis Resources Corporation, International Power and investment bank Morgan Stanley.

The award of the lease comes after two years of feasibility work in the waters of the Pentland Firth.

Subject to planning consent, the consortium plans to install hundreds of turbines in the Inner Sound area.

Construction is expected to take place on a phased basis until 2020.

The project will be one of the biggest in the world, with the potential to generate up to 400MW of power.

The scheme is part of efforts to develop the Pentland Firth and waters surrounding the Orkney Islands in the largest planned wave and tidal generating programme in the world.

Earlier this year, areas in the Pentland Firth and around Orkney were leased to seven companies, which aim to generate enough electricity to supply 750,000 homes by 2020 from a range of wave and tidal devices.

Dan Pearson, chief executive of MeyGen, said: "The MeyGen project will be seen as a flagship marine power project.

"In cooperation with the local community, the Crown Estate and all levels of government, we are committed to making tidal power a success not only for our shareholders, but for Scotland as well."

John Thurso, Lib Dem MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said: "Caithness and surrounding regions have a real opportunity to lead an international revolution in energy, by building a world-beating marine power industry."

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