A huge tidal project is set to be developed off the northern coast of Scotland after rights to the site were awarded to a consortium by the Crown Estate.
A 25-year operational lease for the site in the Pentland Firth has been given to MeyGen – a joint venture between International Power, Morgan Stanley and Atlantis Resources Corporation.
Once up and running, the tidal project, which will be one of the biggest in the world, could generate 400MW of power, enough energy to supply 400,000 homes.
The award of the lease by the Crown Estate comes after two years of feasibility work in the waters of the Pentland Firth.
If planning consent is approved, the consortium plans to install up to 400 turbines completely submerged in a stretch of high flowing water in the Pentland Firth Inner Sound - which is the perfect location owing to its quality of tides and proximity to the mainland for grid connections.
The first phase of development will see the deployment of turbines to assess their environmental impact and help plan for later projects, with intermittent construction occurring up until 2020.
The scheme is part of wider efforts to develop the Pentland Firth and waters surrounding the Orkney Islands in the largest planned wave and tidal generation programme in the world.
The area, which separates the Orkney Islands from the mainland, is the first to be made available for commercial scale development of wave and tidal energy in Britain and up to 1,600MW of power generating capacity could be installed.
Dan Pearson, chief executive of MeyGen, said: “The MeyGen project will be seen as a flagship marine power project.
“In cooperation with the local community, the Crown Estate and all levels of Government, we are committed to making tidal power a success not only for our shareholders, but for Scotland as well.”