Scotland: West Islay Tidal Energy Farm – Islay
DP Marine Energy Ltd. and its development partner, Bluepower NV (a Belgium company whose shareholders include the offshore contractor, DEME, and utility, Nuhma) propose to build one of the world’s first commercial scale tidal energy parks. The project has an Agreement for Lease from The Crown Estate for a 30MW tidal array, consisting of up to 30 tidal turbines in an area to the west of Portnahaven, Islay, Scotland.
The site occupies an area of around eight square kilometres. The tidal resource around this part of the Scottish Coast is substantial with flows approaching 8knots as the water from the Atlantic flows into and out of the northern part of the Irish Sea. This, combined with the flat sea bed across the site with water depths of between 35m and 50m, make it suitable for deployment of tidal turbines.
Other advantages of the proposed site include the future development potential of up to 400MW with expansion to deeper water, and the absence of large concentrations of resident marine life.
The Agreement for Lease was secured in October 2011 and submission of the planning application (section 36 and Marine Licence) followed in September 2013. Marine Scotland have consulted on the application and on the 21st June 2017 consent was granted by the Scottish Ministers. Further information on the consent can be found on the Scottish Government website http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Licensing/marine/scoping/DPMarineEnergy
There are of course a number of technical challenges to be considered and overcome given the nature of the west coast location before any construction works commences and we will be addressing these as we move forward. This will involve carrying out a more detailed assessment of the overall project including a review of current tidal technology options, and identification of the turbines best suited to the site conditions, a detailed subsea cable route and construction methodology and a revisit of the onshore connection options. Once this assessment has been completed we will be looking at the best methods of disseminating that information and the findings of our assessment to the local community and local interests group. This is likely to include updates via the Ileach, Community Council and through further public open day events on Islay at the appropriate time.
We and our partners look forward to engaging with the Islay Community and providing further updates as the project progresses.
It is currently anticipated that energisation would occur by 2022.
West Islay Tidal Energy Park – Notice of Decision
The planning application was supported by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The consultation process including engagement with key stakeholders has been underway since 2009. Detailed marine surveys, including seabed benthic studies and sea bird and marine mammal surveys were undertaken and assessment of the data concluded that the development was unlikely to have any significant environmental impact.