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Wave and tidal power plans unveiled

16/03/2010

First Minister Alex Salmond today welcomed the signing of 10 project agreements to generate as much as 1.2GW of marine energy off Scotland's north coast following the world's first commercial wave and tidal leasing round.

The Crown Estate, which grants seabed lease development rights for marine renewable energy projects, announced that agreements have been signed to develop six wave and four tidal schemes in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.

The schemes range from 50 MW to 200MW - to deliver a total capacity capable of powering up to 700,000 homes and estimated capital investment in the region of £3 to £4 billion by 2020.

The First Minister said:

"Today marks a major milestone in the global journey towards a low carbon future, with the commercial-scale deployment of marine renewables set to power our economies and help safeguard the planet for generations to come. These waters have been described as the Saudi Arabia of marine power and the wave and tidal projects unveiled today - exceeding the initial 700MW target capacity - underline the rich natural resources of the waters of Scotland.

"Leading international energy companies and innovators continue to be drawn to Scottish waters, which boast as much as a quarter of Europe's tidal and offshore wind resource and a tenth of the continent's potential wave capacity. Together with some 11GW of planned offshore wind developments, these latest marine renewables projects show that Scotland is powering ahead in the development and deployment of clean, green energy.

"The Scottish Government is working with The Crown Estate, developers and key partners to support this rapidly-growing industry, to ensure communities such as those in Caithness and Orkney are well-placed to reap the benefits and to secure Scotland's position as the green energy powerhouse of Europe."

Roger Bright, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate, said:

"I am delighted that today, in Wick and Kirkwall, we have announced the successful bidders for the world's first commercial wave and tidal leasing round in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. The 1.2GW of marine renewable generation capacity, 600MW each from wave and tidal, is generating four times the electricity of Dounreay power station in its heyday. This shows the world that marine energy can produce significant electrical power and offer a real alternative to conventional power production.

"This announcement demonstrates the UK's position as the leader in wave and tidal technologies. Through our experience and some of the best natural resources in the world we have been able to launch the first wave and tidal energy projects on a commercial scale. This emerging industry has a bright and promising future, with vast amounts of untapped energy in the seas all around us, and The Crown Estate looks forward to working with partners in Wick and Kirkwall to realise the area's marine energy potential."

Pentland Firth wavesHighlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) Chair William Roe said:

"This announcement signals the first step towards the commercialisation of marine renewable energy generation from the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. As the Scottish Government's economic development agency, HIE holds a pivotal role among the stakeholder relationships which are together moving marine energy generation forward from aspiration towards reality.

"We will be continuing to target our expertise towards supporting developers, supply chain companies, inward investors and local communities to create a globally successful industry and to ensuring that the potential benefits are fully realised for Scotland."

The location, tenant owner and maximum capacity of agreed wave projects are:

  • Costa Head, SSE Renewables Developments Ltd, 200MW
  • Brough Head, Brough Head Wave Farm Limited [Aquamarine Power Ltd & SSE Renewables Developments Ltd], 200MW
  • Marwick Head, ScottishPower Renewables UK Ltd, 50MW
  • West Orkney South, E.ON, 50MW
  • West Orkney Middle South, E.ON, 50MW
  • and Armadale, Pelamis Wave Power Ltd, 50MW

The tidal projects are:

  • Westray South, SSE Renewables Developments (UK) Ltd, 200MW
  • Cantick Head, Cantick Head Tidal Development Ltd [SSE Renewables Holdings (UK) Ltd & OpenHydro Site Development Ltd], 200MW
  • Brough Ness, Marine Current Turbines Ltd, 100MW
  • and Ness of Duncansby, ScottishPower Renewables UK Ltd, 100MW

With more than seven Gigawatts (GW) of renewables capacity already installed, under construction or consented around the country, Scotland is on track to surpass its target of meeting 31 per cent of electricity demand from renewable energy by 2011 - an interim step towards achieving the 50 per cent target by 2020.

Today's wave and tidal leasing round announcement follows on from two offshore wind leasing rounds in Scottish waters, announced by the Crown Estate in February 2009 and January this year. The combined target capacity across those offshore wind projects is 11.2 GW.

The Scottish Government has announced plans for a £10 million Saltire Prize to help drive forward innovation in wave and tidal power generation. It will be awarded to the team that demonstrates in Scottish waters a commercially viable wave or tidal energy technology that achieves a minimum electrical output of 100GWh over a two-year period.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 introduced legally-binding targets for Scotland to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent and 80 per cent by 2020 and 2050 respectively. Together with carbon capture, energy efficiency and carbon reduction in transport and land use, renewable energy generation is key to meeting those targets.

The Marine (Scotland) Act, providing a framework to balance competing demands on Scotland's seas, including measures to help boost economic investment and growth in areas including marine renewables, received royal assent last week.