UK marine hydro firm Marine Current Turbines is targeting 2013 to install Scotland's first tidal energy farm.
MCT, which designed and deployed the world's first commercial scale offshore tidal stream energy system in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough, is investigating the feasibility of a tidal farm in Kyle Rhea, a strait of water between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland, the company announced.
The project will have the capacity to generate electricity for up to 4,000 homes in the Highlands & Islands by harnessing the power of the fast tidal currents that pass through Kyle Rhea 14 hours a day. It will also give a multi-million pound boost to the Highlands & Islands economy, as local businesses can expect to participate in the tidal farm's installation, operation and maintenance, a press release states.
The development of the project is subject to securing a lease agreement from The Crown Estate, securing planning approval from Marine Scotland (part of the Scottish Government) and raising the finance for the project.
Marine Current Turbines (MCT) estimates that the cost of the 5-MW Kyle Rhea scheme, consisting of four SeaGen tidal units, will be GBP35 million (US55 million).
For the past nine months, MCT has undertaken a series of environmental and technical studies and consulted a range of local and national organizations. The work to date has confirmed the suitability of the site. Subject to further studies being carried out and further consultations, MCT aims to submit a planning application toward the end of 2011.
MCT, with the support of the environmental consultancy Royal Haskoning (based in Edinburgh), has already consulted a range of organizations about its plans.
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