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Developers propose 42 wave, tidal projects for U.K.'s Pentland Firth

The United Kingdom's Crown Estate received 42 wave and tidal power project proposals from 20 bidders competing for sites in Scotland's Pentland Firth.

The Crown Estate, which protects and manages government resources to benefit the taxpayer, took applications from pre-qualified developers in May. (HydroWorld 2/12/09) It had pre-qualified 38 wave and tidal companies and consortia to bid for sites to develop 700 MW by 2020.

The agency said June 8, 2009, that applications ranged from 10-MW demonstration sites to 200- to 300-MW commercial sites. Applicants ranged from small developers to multi-national energy companies.

The Crown Estate said it will carry out a detailed evaluation of the bids to identify proposals that demonstrate capabilities and commitment necessary to safely deploy wave or tidal devices in Pentland Firth. It said it will negotiate with prospective developers throughout the summer prior to awarding agreements for lease, expected by September.

Officials say Pentland Firth has six of the top ten sites in the United Kingdom for tidal power development. The Round 1 leasing program is aimed at delivering 700 MW of new offshore wave and tidal power by 2020.

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 United Kingdom previously announced it also is launching an environmental study on marine energy projects in England and Wales, paving the way for commercial wave and tidal devices to be deployed. Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt told an ocean energy conference in April that the government would start screening for a Strategic Environmental Assessment of marine energy in England and Wales, required for all major infrastructure projects by the European Union. It is to be completed by late 2011.

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