Ireland’s DP Energy is set to become Europe’s largest independent developer of tidal stream projects after taking over the lease from Perth-based Scottish & Southern Energy’s from the Crown Estate.
The transfer will see DP Energy, based in Cork in the Republic of Ireland, take on the development of the Westray South project in Orkney, Scotland, with the potential to install up to 200MW of tidal turbines over two phases.
The continued development of the project and engagement with key stakeholders has been a key objective of the transfer and a consent application for the first 60MW phase is due to be submitted later this year.
The investment required to construct phase one of the project is expected to be in the region of £200 million and will generate enough electricity to power 40,000 homes and saving an estimated 56,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The Westray South site is adjacent to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) tidal test facility in Orkney, and its relatively sheltered location and moderate water depths make it a promising early development site.
The acquisition increases DP Energy’s overall portfolio of tidal energy projects to 330MW making the company the largest such independent developer in Europe, with a number of other projects in the pipeline.
The company is one of Europe’s longest established onshore wind farm development specialists and has created a specialised subsidiary, DP Marine Energy (DPME) to develop utility grade and large megawatt capacity ocean energy projects in key markets worldwide.
Simon De Pietro, Managing Director, DP Energy, said the transfer places the company – which he and his mother Maureen, who worked as a solicitor in England, established originally as an early stage wind development company – firmly at the top of the marine energy development sector.
He added: “This is a very significant development for DP Energy and is a further expression of our confidence in tidal energy generation as a key component in the portfolio of reliable, predictable and emissions free power sources needed to take us into a more self-sustainable future.
“The approach we take is technology-neutral and is based on the fact that the site and project comes first – and that technology is simply a means of achieving cost competitiveness and driving down the cost of energy.
“This ensures projects are buildable in the future as the least-cost solution develops and as the industry matures and ensures potential competition in the market.”
Richard Escott, Head of Offshore Development, SSE Renewables, said: “As part of the ongoing review of our marine assets, we have decided that the best option for our Westray South project is to transfer the ongoing and future development of the project to DP Marine Energy Ltd. DP Energy has a clear strategy for developing marine projects and we are pleased to be able to hand on this project to a committed developer.”
In the Marine field, DP Energy is actively exploring a number of sites in the UK and Ireland, and beyond for the development of utility scale marine energy projects. Its lead project a potential 400MW tidal stream project approximately 6km off the island of Islay on the South West Coast of Scotland is currently at a formal scoping stage, prior to submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment.
For the Islay project DP Energy has recently been awarded an agreement for a Commercial Lease of 30MW by The Crown Estate. It is scheduled for build in 2015 through 2017.
The application approach is technology neutral albeit based on an open rotor device such as that provided by Siemens MCT or Alstom TGL