Orkney Council scuttles Scapa Flow tidal energy plan

A Churchill barrier-cum-causeway in Orkney isles
A Churchill barrier-cum-causeway in Orkney isles

Orkney Council has pulled the plug on its own plan to develop two tidal power projects in the Churchill Barriers – built during the second world war to protect warships anchored in Scapa Flow after the Nazis sank the Royal Oak battleship in 1939.

The council floated the idea of designing, building and operating a tidal energy generation scheme at Churchill Barriers No. 1 and/or No.2 in 2015.

The idealised mean power with both barriers fully open is estimated at 16.7MW at Barrier No.1 and 8.6MW at Barrier No.2 and the developer would also have to maintain the road across the barriers at all times and reducing the existing wave overtopping risk at Barrier No.2.

But three years later – and with no notes of interest from prospective developers – the cooncil has now quietly scuttled the scheme.

A spokesman explained: “The lack of grid capacity and removal of the wave and tidal stream minima in the Contracts for Difference regime has adversely impacted market sentiment.”

The battleship HMS Malaya at anchor in Scapa Flow wartime
The battleship HMS Malaya at wartime anchor in Scapa Flow.

12 Mar 2018

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