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Alstom, ScottishRenewable Power sign MOU for tidal energy project

Alstom Tidal Turbine

Alstom will provide tidal power devices for an installation in the Sound of Islay, per a memorandum of understanding signed with ScottishPower Renewables this past week.

The tidal array will be located off Scotland's west coast between Islay and Jura.

Alston said the site will include up to four of its 1 MW tidal generating units -- one of which is currently being tested at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland.

"The addition of Alstom to the Islay project signals major benefits for the future growth of the tidal energy sector," ScottishPower Renewables executive Simon Christian said.

The first unit is set to deploy in late 2015, Alstom said, with the remainder being completed in 2016. Operations are planned for 25 year, during which time the plant will serve as a building block for a potential 95 MW marine and hydrokinetic project off the north coast of Caithness at Duncansby.

"We believe the potential for tidal power in the U.K. is huge and, with our turbine, we have the ability to help our customers make the best of that potential," Alstom Ocean vice president Rob Stevenson said.

HydroWorld.com reported that ScottishPower Renewables received approval for the tidal power array from the Scottish government in 2011. The site will also host a turbine being developed by the company in conjunction with Andritz Hydro Hammerfest.

"Islay will now permit the two leading tidal power technologies to be prove side-by-side and to take them both to the point of commercialization," Christian said. "By ensuring that the two leading technologies are developed in Scottish waters, it considerable strengthens Scotland's global lead in this sector."

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