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Crown Estates announces further tidal project sites

15 November 2012

The Crown Estates has confirmed that three organisations have secured the rights to progress with the development of tidal energy projects at sites around the UK.

OpenHydro Turbine (photo courtesy of RenewableUK)
OpenHydro Turbine (photo courtesy of RenewableUK)

The announcement of these three projects signals the continued growth in both interest in the development of marine renewables across the whole of the UK and in the variety of ways in which organisations are looking to support the needs of the industry as it continues to grow.

The sites have been awarded as a result of the fourth application window in The Crown Estate's leasing process, for projects in connection with the Scottish Government's Saltire Prize (in Scottish waters) and demonstration projects (all around the UK), which opened in April 2012.

The Isle of Wight Council has secured an Agreement for Lease for a managed testing facility, called the Solent Ocean Energy Centre, located off the south of the Isle of Wight near St. Catherine's Point. The Centre creates a new opportunity for technology developers to test tidal stream turbines, building knowledge and experience of installation, operations and maintenance. The project forms part of the Council'sEco Islandsustainability initiative.

Orkney-based Scotrenewables Tidal Power has secured an Agreement for Lease to develop a 30 MW tidal stream array at Lashy Sound, in the Orkney Islands.  This follows the company testing a 250 kW device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney from March 2011 onwards. The Lashy Sound project will help Scotrenewables to move its technology from prototype to commercialisation.  The award follows a review by The Crown Estate of the Pentland Firth strategic area earlier this year.

Swedish technology developer Minesto has secured a lease to deploy a quarter-scale (3 kW) prototype of its Deep Green Ocean Kite in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland.  This follows tests of its SeaKite tidal technology in the Lough during 2011-12. The new prototype will be deployed for two years and advance Minesto's plans towards demonstration of a commercial model.  The Northern Ireland Department of the Environment has already issued a consent for the project.

These new agreements for lease will enable the developers to proceed further with their projects, consulting local stakeholders, completing survey work and preparing applications to obtain consents from the relevant authorities, including the Marine Management Organisation and Marine Scotland.  If consents are granted for the Solent Ocean Energy Centre and Lashy Sound project, The Crown Estate will be able to grant leases to enable construction and operation of the schemes.

The awards take the total number of UK wave and tidal sites under development or operation to 41.

David Krohn, wave and tidal development manager at RenewableUK said the three lease awards all signify important steps forward for the industry. "Scotrenewables is demonstrating a floating device that could fundamentally alter the cost reduction landscape, while minesto is opening up new areas for development by demonstrating that energy can be generated in lower current speeds," he says. "The Isle of Wight award shows that communities can get behind tidal projects and make a meaningful difference to the way energy is generated in the UK."

RenewableUK will be holding its annual Wave and Tidal Conference in February 2013.

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