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Commercial Development

The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area is at the global forefront of the commercialisation of both wave and tidal technology. The energy resource of the area propmted the first, and so far only, commercial leasing round for wave and tidal energy by The Crown Estate in 2010. Subject to stautory consents, the next 10 years could see up to 1,600 large scale wave and tidal energy devides deplyed in and around the Orkney and Pentland Firth area.

In all, lease options for up to 1.6GW of generation have been granted. Considerable further resource is available and under investigation. A number of leading European utilities are amongst those seeking to invest in the 6 wave and 5 tidal projects proposed under the existing leasing round, namely SSE, ScottishPower Renewables and E.ON UK Ltd. The single largest tidal developement, the 400MW Meygen project, has US investment bank Morgan Stanley as its principal investor. A number of leading industrial concerns are supporting the development of individual technologies, including Voith Hydro, Siemens, ABB and Alstom.

Delivery of the projects depends on a range of factors, many of which will be tackled directly by project development companies. A variety of challenging technological, environmental, planning and economic factors may have to be overcome. In addition, successful development depends crucially on support from other organisations, including technology providers, infrastructure providers and government.

Build out timescales

In May 2011, The Crown Estate published the 'Build Out Story' highlighting the anticpated deployment programmes of the 11 Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters (PFOW) Round 1 projects. The pattern of installed capacity reflects a full 'route map' to commercialisation, with developers intending firstly to deploy arrays of devices at demonstration scale (10MW - 20MW) within their PFOW lease areas and thereafter apply the learning from these initial installations to the full-scale roll-out of their commercial arrays in the latter part of the decade.

Work to develop the projects has been underway in earnest for the past 18 months and in the period up to 2015, sums of up to £100m will require to be spent on scoping, consenting, and site development alone.


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