Tidal stream development approved

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The Independent Online

The world's largest tidal stream energy development will be built off the west coast of Scotland.

ScottishPower Renewables' £40 million tidal array will harness the power of the Sound of Islay and generate enough electricity for more than 5,000 homes, more than double the number of homes on Islay.

The 10 megawatt (MW) facility will further develop emerging tidal energy technology, and provide economic and community benefits to Islay and Jura.

The Scottish Government said it will cement Scotland's position as a global leader in marine energy.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney, who determined the application as it is in Energy Minister Jim Mather's Argyll & Bute constituency, said: "With around a quarter of Europe's potential tidal energy resource and a tenth of the wave capacity, Scotland's seas have unrivalled potential to generate green energy, create new, low carbon jobs, and bring billions of pounds of investment to Scotland.

"This development - the largest tidal array in the world - does just that and will be a milestone in the global development of tidal energy."

Mr Swinney said the Scottish Power Renewables array will work in harmony with the environment and use the power of the tides in the Sound of Islay to generate enough green energy to power double the number of homes on Islay.

He added: "There is simply nothing like it consented anywhere else in the world.

"Developers must also work with host communities to provide local benefits.

"I am pleased that ScottishPower Renewables will work with the Islay Energy Trust to maximise social and economic opportunities, for instance using local marine contractors during installation or creating new local jobs in the onshore construction phase.

"And the wider Scottish supply chain is set to benefit, with Scottish businesses set to benefit from four million pounds worth of contracts in making the turbines to be used in the development, including manufacture of a test prototype at BiFab in Arnish.

"The Scottish Government has the right incentives for commercial marine energy generation.

"With the highest support levels in the UK for wave and tidal energy, our £10 million Saltire Prize - Scotland's energy challenge to the world to inspire innovation in marine energy - and our low carbon investment project, Scotland is one of the most attractive markets in the world for investment in marine renewables.

"We will continue to work with our enterprise agencies and with other partners to develop to our full potential and cement Scotland's position as a global leader in marine energy."