Crowning glory

The Crown Estate is inviting interested company’s to propose how they might develop tidal and wave power in the Pentland Firth and surrounding waters.

Eventually, the Crown Estate would like to see 700MW of new offshore wave and tidal power stations developed at the site by 2020. The proposed area is said to contain six of the top 10 sites in the UK for tidal power development and will be central to meeting Scottish government green energy targets.

After the proposals are received, it will conduct a comprehensive environmental impact assessment of each of them. The process will take into account the impact the developments might have on international shipping routes, ferry traffic, fishing, defence, environment and ecology as well as local economic benefits.

In response to the Crown Estate’s ambitious plans, Simon Grey, chief executive of AWS Ocean, said: ‘Harnessing the energy within the Pentland Firth will be challenging, but we intend to play our part in realising this fantastic opportunity. AWS Ocean is developing a range of technologies for use in the wave and tidal sector, such as affordable anchoring solutions, that will be just as vital as the generation systems in maximising the energy potential of the Pentland Firth.’

The initial installations at the site are expected to be full size demonstration devices deployed in small arrays. However, the Crown Estate cautioned that any further development would require significant investment in the grid.

Interested parties have until noon on the 19 December 2008 to register their interest.