Minesto’s trial device at Stangford Lough in Northern Ireland, Scotrenewables Tidal Power array at Lashy Sound in the Orkney Islands and the Solent Energy Centre on the Isle of Wight, were all granted new leases by the Crown Estate.

The leases were agreed as a result of the of the fourth application window in the Crown Estate’s leasing process, for projects in connection with the Scottish Government’s Saltire Prize and UK-wide demonstration projects.

Located off the south of the Isle of Wight near St. Catherine’s Point, the Solent Energy Centre will create a new opportunity for technology developers to test tidal stream turbines.

The agreement to develop a 30MW tidal stream in the Orkney Islands follows the piloting of a 250kW device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney from March 2011.

The Swedish technology developer Minesto’s lease will enable it to deploy a quarter-scale (3kW) prototype of its Deep Green Ocean Kite.

The energy trade association, RenewableUK, says that the agreements are a further indication of the growth in the UK marine sector.

RenewableUK wave and tidal development manager David Krohn said: “This is great news not only for the developers involved but also for the industry as a whole because it shows the level of confidence that exists around this technology”.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) also welcomed the news.

“The projects which have got the green light today demonstrate the diversity and vibrancy of the marine renewables sector,” said REA head of marine renewables Dr Stephanie Merry.

She added: “The Scotrenewables project, which is looking to increase the output of its device 120-fold, is commendably ambitious.

“The Solent Energy Centre will help bring forward yet more innovative and ambitious projects of this kind. And the Minesto project in Strangford Lough we hope will benefit from the experience of the neighbouring SeaGen project, which has been a major learning process in managing EU Marine Protection Sites for both industry and regulators.

“Today’s announcement will ensure the creation of a significant number of green jobs, and enable tidal power to play a significant role in meeting our carbon and renewable energy targets.”

Conor McGlone

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