Up to six turbines will be initially placed in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth off the north coast of Caithness, Scotland, the first phase of what developers hope will be a much larger project.

MeyGen Ltd. (London, U.K.) has been awarded consent by the Scottish Government for an 86MW tidal energy project, following the completion of the statutory approval process with the regulator Marine Scotland. The project is located in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth off the north coast of Caithness, home to one of Europe’s greatest tidal resources. It is the largest tidal stream energy project to be awarded consent in Europe and constitutes the first phase of a site that could eventually yield up to 398MW.

MeyGen plans to build an initial demonstration array of up to 6 turbines, with construction starting in early 2014 and turbines commissioned in 2015. This initial array will provide valuable environmental data for the subsequent phases and the wider tidal energy industry.

Ed Rollings, environment and consents manager of MeyGen, says “The award of this consent is the culmination of over 4 years of environmental work and extensive consultation with stakeholders and the local community in Caithness. The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters region is an internationally important area for wildlife and we are committed to continuing research with interested parties to ensure that the exploitation of this clean, predictable and sustainable energy resource is done so in a manner that does not have a detrimental effect on the species and habitats in the area.”

Dan Pearson, CEO of MeyGen, adds “The MeyGen team and its shareholders are thrilled to have reached this defining milestone. While there is still much work to be done, the prospects for delivering the first tidal energy array in the Pentland Firth, thereby establishing a stepping stone to commercialising tidal energy, are promising."