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World’s Largest Tidal Park Planned Off Scotland’s Western Coast

ScottishPower Renewables, a unit of Iberdrola Renovables SA, says it will build the world’s largest tidal energy plant off Scotland’s west coast.

The company won approval to build a 10-megawatt demonstration project that will cost 40 million pounds ($65 million) and will generate enough power for 5,000 homes, Glasgow-based ScottishPower Renewables said today in a statement.

The project will be the first tidal energy plant in Scotland and would triple the 3.4-megawatt capacity of all marine-energy projects currently deployed in the U.K., Johanna Yates, offshore policy manager at the Scottish Renewables lobbying group, said today by e-mail.

“This represents a major milestone for the marine energy sector in Scotland, with the largest project consent granted to date,” she said.

ScottishPower will install 10 tidal turbines, each with capacity of 1 megawatt, in the Sound of Islay, a channel between the islands of Jura and Islay known for its strong tidal flows, according to the statement.

Hammerfest Strom AS, a Norwegian company partially owned by Iberdrola, will provide its HS1000 tidal turbines for the project. ScottishPower expects to begin work on the plant next year and to install the turbines from 2013 to 2015.

A 300-kilowatt prototype of Hammerfest Strom’s HS1000 model has been generating electricity in Norwegian waters for more than six years. The company will test the systems in waters off Orkney, Scotland, this year.

Potential Tidal Energy

“With around a quarter of Europe’s potential tidal energy resource and a tenth of the wave capacity, Scotland’s seas have unrivaled potential to generate green energy,” John Swinney, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for finance and sustainable growth, said today. The nation is seeking to create a marine power industry as part of its efforts to derive 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

About 4 million pounds of contracts to produce the turbines will go to Scottish businesses, including a 2 million-pound contract for Burntisland Fabrications Ltd., the government said.

Tidal power is among the most expensive renewable technologies, at $317 a megawatt-hour, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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