Orbital Marine Power has announced it has been awarded an Option Agreement from Crown Estate Scotland for a new tidal energy project in Orkney.
Set for the Westray Firth, Orbital is to bring the 30-megawatt project to the island it calls home.
Expected to result in over £120m of domestic supply chain spending, the project is set to create hundreds of jobs across construction and around a dozen new permanent jobs locally, providing operations and maintenance services.
Andrew Scott, chief executive at Orbital, said: “As the UK looks to accelerate the decarbonisation of its energy system, we firmly believe tidal projects can bring unique benefits while harnessing a perfectly predictable and secure source of renewable energy.
“We’re proud to be building that vision in Orkney with this investment in our Westray Project.”
The firm has already confirmed it has a grid connection in place to service the project t, which is located adjacent to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) facility.
This is where Orbital has previously deployed the 2MW O2, which is the world’s most powerful tidal turbine in commercial operation.
Orkney transmission connection
Ofgem recently announced it is minded to approve a new 220MW transmission connection, to be built from the Scottish mainland to service renewable power exports from the islands.
Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, commented: “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.”
To produce the 30MW needed for the Option Agreement, 12 Orbital devices will be installed across the site.
The Orbital team is engaged with stakeholders and is progressing environmental studies, with a view to reaching consent application as soon as possible.
Crown Estate Scotland’ Sian Wilson 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.”