Tidal turbine tests pave way for array

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The world’s first array of tidal turbines could be deployed in the Sound of Islay off Scotland’s west coast by 2013, it has been announced.
ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) has submitted a planning application for the project, which could generate up to 10MW. A further 95 turbines are set to be installed at the Ness of Duncansby in the Pentland Firth by 2017 as part of the Crown Estate’s first marine energy leasing round.
The details emerged as SPR’s Norwegian partner Hammerfest Strom announced that a test turbine to be installed next year at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney will be built at the Arnish yard in Stornoway.
SPR managing director Keith Anderson said: “We hope that the announcement is just the beginning of what could be a major stream of opportunities for the renewables and manufacturing industries in Scotland.”
The company has already signed a provisional contract with drinks company Diageo to supply electricity from the Islay turbines to eight distilleries on the island.
First minister Alex Salmond described the development as a vote of confidence in the government’s decision to back offshore power. “With a range of wave, tidal and offshore wind development already under way, Scotland leads the way,” he declared.
“We have an estimated 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal resource and ten per cent of its wave potential, a renewable energy resource which is unrivalled in Europe,” he added.

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