A tidal stream turbine which is easily deployable and accessible moved a step closer to providing community tidal power in Scotland having reached an Agreement for Lease with The Crown Estate for a test site in Sanda Sound, South Kintyre.

The potential deployment in the Sanda Sound of Evopod™, a floating, tethered device from Oceanflow Development, is now currently undergoing checks by Marine Scotland and its environmental consultees in order to obtain a licence to start a scaled-down test of what at full scale could be installed in tidal stream sites such as the Pentland Firth.

Graeme Mackie, Oceanflow’s managing director, said:

“The beauty of Evopod is that it is easier to install and maintain than devices positioned on the seabed. This means that it is cheaper to install and to operate and any problems can be quickly and easily addressed. We are hopeful that we will get Marine Scotland approval and are well on the way to having our first grid-connected tidal stream system in place by mid 2012.”

“Sanda Sound represents a scaled down version of the Pentland Firth, where we see significant potential for farms of Evopod devices where at full-scale each device could power around 1,000 homes.”

Oceanflow Development, the Scottish subsidiary of Oceanflow Energy, intends to use the Sanda Sound site for long term testing of its floating tethered tidal stream technology. The sub-50kW test device will be grid connected and could be a forerunner to other community energy scale tidal power projects around the coastline of Scotland. The test has received encouragement from the Southend and Campbeltown communities.

Malcolm McMillan, project officer for the South Kintyre Development Trust, said:

“The South Kintyre Development Trust (SKDT) is delighted that Oceanflow has selected Sanda Sound for this pioneering project. We believe that tidal stream energy will be a significant contributor to the mix of renewable energy in the future and Kintyre has a significant resource that should be used. It is our hope that in the short term the local community will benefit from the development of tidal stream technologies such as Evopod.”

Oceanflow is using the project not just to trial its technology but to understand its interaction with the environment and has funded environmental surveys over 2010/11 including seabird and marine wildlife surveys and will continue to monitor the environmental sensitivity of the device once it is installed which is planned to take place in mid 2012.

Councillor Rory Colville, Ward 1: South Kintyre, Spokesperson for Third Sector and Communities said:

“I am delighted with this news which has been achieved with the assistance of South Kintyre Development Trust. There is no doubt that this is an exciting time in the development of the renewable tidal sector in Scotland. The significant tidal power resource available within Kintyre and the west coast of Argyll makes this an ideal location to test this tidal technology. The community has been involved from the onset with this project and should the Evopod unit prove successful, which I am sure it will, this demonstration project could pave the way for future possible revenue streams for our coastal communities.”

“We look forward to working with Oceanflow Energy Limited and to investigating with them the opportunities to maximise local economic benefit. If the project proves successful there may well be the opportunity to examine a future manufacturing base being located at Machrihanish alongside Wind Tower Limited.”