Tidal energy developer Orbital Marine Power said Wednesday it had been awarded an Option Agreement from Crown Estate Scotland for a new 30MW tidal energy project in the Westray Firth, a strait in the Orkney Islands.
Orkney-based Orbital also confirmed it had a grid connection in place to service the pioneering project, which is located adjacent to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) facility, where Orbital has already deployed the 2MW O2, for which it says is "the world’s most powerful tidal turbine," under commercial operation.
"Renewable projects in Orkney were recently given a boost by Ofgem announcing it is minded to approve a new 220MW transmission connection, to be built from the Scottish mainland to service renewable power exports from the islands. Following the award of contracts for difference (CfDs) in last year’s AR4 process, Orbital is already targeting the installation of three more of its tidal turbines at the EMEC site, alongside the O2, to expand its tidal generation capacity in the coming years," Orbital said.
The company, whose strategy includes carrying out major aspects of its manufacturing within the UK, says that the construction of the Westray project would be expected to result in over £120m of domestic supply chain spend and create hundreds of jobs across construction and around a dozen new permanent jobs locally to provide operations and maintenance services.
The Option Agreement is for 30MW, equating to approximately 12 Orbital devices installed across the site.
"The waters around Orkney have significantly wider tidal stream energy potential, and the Westray site offers just one example of how this can be harnessed to provide clean, predictable power," Orbital said.
The company is progressing environmental studies, with a "view to reaching consent application as soon as possible."