Marine Current Turbines (MCT, Bristol, U.K.) reported on Dec. 2 that it is targeting 2013 to install Scotland's first tidal energy farm. The company, 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 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.
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. MCT estimates that the cost of the 5-MW Kyle Rhea scheme, consisting of four SeaGen tidal units, will be £35 million.
For the past nine months, MCT has undertaken a series of environmental and technical studies and consulted a range of local and national organisations. The work to date has confirmed the suitability of the site and subject to further studies being carried out and further consultations, MCT aims to submit a planning application towards the end of next year (2011).
David Ainsworth, MCT's project manager for the Kyle Rhea project, said, "Engagement with local interests is an important part of our work and so far the response to our plans has been generally positive. Our experience of working in Strangford Lough has been hugely valuable in taking forward our plans for Kyle Rhea, and has helped assure people about the impacts of deploying our technology."