Tidal farm to be developed in Pentland firth  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

The John O'Groats Journal reports that a company will develop a 10-megawatt prototype tidal power project in the Pentland Firth (the "Saudi Arabia of tidal power", as the saying goes)- Tidal farm to be developed in firth.

International Power Marine Development yesterday confirmed its plans and said it has opened an office in Thurso and appointed James Minto, who has an engineering background in tidal power technology, to run the project.

The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Power plc, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has business interests in various parts of the globe, will start working with prototype tidal devices but intends to operate on a commercial basis at a later date.

Subject to an environmental impact assessment, a Crown Estate lease, and planning consent from the Scottish Government, the scheme is due to be operational by 2011. "This tidal farm will complement prototype testing and bring tidal stream technology to commercial reality. Together with stakeholders, we have an opportunity to create industry best practice for environmental impact assessments and marine operations. I look forward to working with all concerned to contribute to the foundations of this emerging industry," said Mr Minto.

This initiative – coming just two weeks after the announcement of a £300 million scheme to set up an international computer data centre powered by an array of tidal turbines on the seabed of the Pentland Firth – was yesterday welcomed by local MP John Thurso.

"For development to go ahead it is critical to secure grid connections and that has been achieved making this an extremely important project. It will put prototype devices in the water and they are a necessary beginning to a process that leads to full-scale commercial device," the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP told the John O'Groat Journal.

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