Marine turbines will generate enough electricity for 10,000 homes

A tidal energy project worth £40m has been approved by the Scottish government.

Ten underwater turbines will be constructed in the Sound of Islay, a kilometre wide channel between the Hebridean islands of Islay and Jura.

A total of ten megawatts will be generated by the turbines providing electricity for 10,000 homes. Once completed it will be the largest tidal energy project in the world.

A prototype sub-structure for the turbine will be built by engineering firm Burntisland Fabrications in a contract worth £4m.

The wind turbines are being constructed in one of the strongest and most reliable tidal streams off the UK coast with regular flows of almost 11km per hour (6.7mph).

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “ScottishPower 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.

“There is simply nothing like it consented anywhere else in the world.”

Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said:

“Tidal power has long been considered as one of Scotland’s most valuable renewable energy resources and we have discussed its potential for many years.

“Today’s announcement moves the whole marine renewables industry forward in Scotland and the UK.”