Ireland’s DP Marine Energy said yesterday a new project in Orkney would help it become Europe’s largest independent developer of tidal-energy systems.
The Cork-based company is taking on the development of the Westray South project from SSE Renewables after the transfer of the Crown Estate lease.
DP said Westray South had potential for the installation, in two phases, of tidal turbines producing up to 200 megawatts.
The investment needed to construct phase one of the project is expected to be in the region of £200million.
DP predicts it will generate enough electricity to power 40,000 homes and save an estimated 56,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The Westray South site is next to the European Marine Energy Centre tidal test facility in Orkney.
According to DP, its relatively sheltered location and moderate water depths “make it a promising early development site”.
Managing director Simon De Pietro said the lease transfer had put the company he founded with his mother, Maureen, as an early stage wind development company “firmly at the top” of the marine-energy development sector.
He added: “This is a very significant development for DP Energy and is a further expression of our confidence in tidal-energy generation as a key component in the portfolio of reliable, predictable and emissions-free power sources needed to take us into a more self-sustainable future.
“The approach we take is technology neutral and based on the fact that the site and project comes first, and that technology is simply a means of achieving cost competitiveness and driving down the cost of energy.
“This ensures projects are buildable in the future as the least-cost solution develops and as the industry matures and ensures potential competition in the market.
Richard Escott, head of offshore development at SSE Renewables, said: “As part of the ongoing review of our marine assets which we began last September, we have decided that the best option for our Westray South project is to transfer the ongoing and future development to DP Marine Energy.”
Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said: “The announcement of DP Energy’s takeover is a small but important step.”