Simec Atlantis Energy will beef up the MeyGen tidal array in the Pentland Firth with at least two more of its 2 megawatt turbines.
The turbines use more powerful generators and larger rotor diameters, will use a new subsea connection hub and share a single export cable.
This will significantly reduce project infrastructure costs by removing the requirement for a dedicated export cable per turbine and should also result in reduced vessel installation costs.
The use of larger rotor diameters is in-step with a key cost reduction trend seen in the offshore wind industry.
Simec Atlantis is targeting first power generation through the new subsea connection hub in late 2019, subject to consents and funding.
The proposed works, known as Project Stroma, will benefit from a €16.8 million revenue support package under the European Commission’s NER300 programme.
The company expects the yield from the enhanced array to increase by about 40% relative to the current configuration of four turbines.
Chief executive Tim Cornelius said: “Project Stroma will be an important enabler for the subsequent extension of the MeyGen site by a further 80MW, and ultimately to the full site capacity of 400MW.
“Nearby sites in the Pentland Firth offer significant further growth potential as part of the UK’s total potential of 8,500MW.
“Worldwide, tidal stream represents a 99,000MW development opportunity for clean, secure and predictable energy at a cost competitive with other forms of green energy.
“Larger rotor diameter turbines and subsea connection hubs will open up new markets for Atlantis in places like the France, South Korea, Japan and the Channel Islands.
“Subsea connection will eliminate the need for offshore transformer platforms which is particularly important in locations such as Alderney where preservation of natural beauty will be a key factor in decision making in relation to any future award of development rights.”