Tidal power company Orbital Marine Power has been awarded an option agreement from Crown Estate Scotland for a new tidal energy project in the Westray Firth, Scotland.
The Option Agreement is for 30MW, equivalent to about 12 Orbital devices installed across the site. The site is located adjacent to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) facility in Orkney, where Orbital has already deployed the 2MW O2.
Orbital also confirmed it has a grid connection in place to service the project and is now engaging with stakeholders and progressing environmental studies, with a view to reaching consent application as soon as possible.
Sian Wilson, Crown Estate Scotland, said: “The Orbital team has successfully secured development rights to progress the tidal energy site located in the Westray Firth which offers a great opportunity to tap into the vast tidal energy resource within Orkney Waters.
“The predictable nature of tidal energy means such projects will perform a crucial role as we transition to a decarbonised energy system and build Scotland’s blue economy.”
Following the award of contracts for difference (CfDs) in last year’s AR4 process, Orbital is planning to install three more of its tidal turbines at the EMEC site to expand its tidal generation capacity in the coming years.
The 2MW Orbital O2 tidal turbine was launched in 2021 and began operating in July 2021. The electricity it generates will be transmitted to the Orkney grid and is expected to offset around 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and power 1,700 UK homes.
Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, said: “These are exciting times for tidal stream energy. Progress with Orbital’s Westray project is a vote of confidence in the potential here in the isles and demonstrates exactly why expanding grid capacity for Orkney has been so important.
“This good news is also evidence of the need for a more robust strategy from the government on tidal stream deployment, including continued and expanded backing in the next round of Contracts for Difference funding. We need to continue to ramp up development in the years to come.”