U.K. names 38 wave, tidal developers to bid for Pentland Firth sites

The United Kingdom’s Crown Estate has pre-qualified 38 wave and tidal companies and consortia to bid for sites to develop 700 MW of ocean generation in Scotland’s Pentland Firth by 2020.

The Crown Estate, which protects and manages government resources to benefit the taxpayer, invited applications for pre-qualification from developers in December. (HNN 11/26/08) Officials say Pentland Firth has six of the top ten sites in the United Kingdom for tidal power development. (HNN 2/2/09)

The next stage of the process is formal application by the pre-qualified firms in May.

�It will be several months before we have a clear idea of the number of companies likely to progress to site survey and application, but this is an excellent start,� Crown Estate Chief Executive Roger Bright said February 11.

The Round 1 leasing program is aimed at delivering 700 MW of new offshore wave and tidal power by 2020, bringing significant economic benefits to northern Scotland. The Crown Estate is to examine applications closely to see what community benefits developers can incorporate and to subject proposals to comprehensive environmental assessment.

The initial devices to be installed are expected to be full-sized demonstration units deployed in small arrays. Larger scale development might require improvements to the grid, the agency said, adding full-scale commercial development definitely would require significant investment in the grid.

�The fact that so many companies have already registered their interest in developing wave and tidal energy projects in the Pentland Firth and surrounding waters is extremely encouraging,� Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said. �The Scottish Government recently launched the world’s greatest ever single prize for innovation in marine energy, the 10 million pound (US$14.94 million) Saltire Prize, and the opening of Pentland Firth for development is a timely and crucial move.� (HNN 12/4/08)

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