GALWAY, IRELAND–August 3, 2012—Written by Martin Lynch, European News Editor for Industrial Info (Galway, Ireland) — The world’s largest marine energy park has been officially launched in the Pentland Firth region of Scotland.
Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters are in line for up 1,600-megawatts (MW) of wave and tidal energy projects that have already been awarded licences by the Crown Estate, which manages the seabed around the U.K.. The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park, as it will be known, will incorporate the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Eday. EMEC is already the testing base for marine energy devices from companies including Ireland’s OpenHydro Group (Dublin), Aquamarine Power Limited (Glasgow), Tidal Generation Limited (Bristol) and Norway’s ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest (Hammerfest, Norway).
The new marine energy park was officially opened by U.K. Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.
“It’s great to see Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters confirm their place on the marine power map with the launch of the second of the Coalition Government’s U.K. Marine Energy Parks,” said Barker. “This area is already a vital part of the marine industry, thanks to its high tidal stream and wave resource. This stretch of water is also home to the European Marine Energy Centre, currently unrivalled anywhere else in the world. This park will help bring together local knowledge and expertise to spur on further development in this exciting industry. Marine power is a growing green clean source of power which has the potential to sustain thousands of jobs in a sector worth a possible £15 billion to the economy by 2050.”
The U.K. government estimates that marine energy could generate up to 27,000 MW of power in the by 2050, the equivalent of up to eight large coal-fired power plants.
In May, Scotland’s largest proposed tidal array project took a significant step closer after the successful commercial testing of one of the turbines in waters off the coast of the island of Eday, Orkney. The HS1000 turbine, with a generating capacity of 1 MW, is made by ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest, and is one of 10 that will be installed at the Sound of Islay project on Scotland’s west coast. When complete it will be capable of generating enough power for approximately 5,000 homes.
In January this year the U.K. government named the South West region of England as the country’s first marine energy park. The huge area, dubbed the South West Marine Energy Park, stretches from Bristol through to Cornwall and as far as the Isles of Scilly. Cornwall is already home to the Wave Hub, a giant, grid-connected socket that lies on the seabed 16 kilometres off the coast and to which numerous marine energy devices are attached for testing.