Fair Head Tidal Energy project – public information days

27 05 2014

Tidal

Please see detail of Public Information days issued by Tidal Energy Project

Public Information Days – Ballycastle 11th June and Rathlin Island 12th June 2014

 As you may already be aware DP Energy (in conjunction with offshore construction company DEME) are proposing to install a tidal generation scheme at Fair Head off the North Antrim coast where the currents are strongest and offers excellent potential for the generation of clean and reliable power. Together we have set up a dedicated project company Fair Head Tidal Energy Park Ltd (FHT) which will evaluate the resource, environmental impacts and engage with stakeholders as we go through the consent process. 

 FHT was awarded an Agreement for Lease from The Crown Estate in 2012 and has already engaged with local stakeholders including those with fishing interests as well as undertaken a number of development activities looking at resource, the presence of marine mammals, sea birds, etc in preparation for producing an environmental impact assessment and report.

 A key part of the development process is, of course, engagement with local people and communities in order to both provide information on the proposal, but also to obtain feedback as part of the assessment and evaluation prior to submitting any formal application for consent. To this end we are hosting two public open days with an exhibition in Ballycastle on June 11th from 2.00pm until 8.00pm and on Rathlin on June 12th from 2.00pm until 4.30pm We will be sharing information on tidal energy in general, as well as site specific information from the surveys we have been undertaking and propose to do in the coming months. The open days will also provide details on some of the tidal turbine technologies being considered, and our current thinking on where the power may be brought ashore. Members of the FHT team will be on hand throughout these events to answer questions and to listen and note any concerns (or voices of support) raised.

 Subject to consents and the availability of grid connection the first stage of the proposal is to install a tidal farm of up to 10MW, comprising between 5 and 10 turbines. This will form part of our European Commission TIDES project intended to demonstrate tidal arrays and would we hope be one of the earliest arrays developed in the UK. The technology for this stage would be Siemens/MCT broadly similar to that deployed in Strangford Lough but we are also considering solutions which are largely sub-sea. The second stage would be more substantial completing the scheme’s 100MW output leading to a potential investment of around £400m, and providing enough to power to supply 70,000 homes.

 We believe tidal energy in Northern Ireland can make an important contribution to meeting Northern Ireland and European climate change and renewable energy targets, as well as providing greater energy security which is becomingly evidently more critical as the current instability in eastern Europe shows just how vulnerable we are to coal, gas and oil shortages. 

 

Beyond the broader energy aspect there is clearly an opportunity on the back of projects such as Fair Head to expand on Northern Ireland’s early lead in the tidal energy arena (Strangford Lough) and develop direct socio-economic benefits and an export based industry to benefit both the North Antrim area and Northern Ireland as a whole.

 

The Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has been very supportive of the tidal energy sector and plans and I should also note we have been particularly pleased with the help and support we have received from Northern Ireland agencies in general. In fact we have found from our experiences to date having undertaken public open days in both Scotland and Nova Scotia positivity about tidal energy is something of a common theme.

 Blair Marnie is the Fair Head Tidal project manager;

  • Joris Minne of JPR is managing our communications;  and
  • Clodagh McGrath, Environmental Manager.
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