The Scottish Government has approved plans for a 30 turbine tidal park off the south-west coast of Islay.
West Islay Tidal Energy Park, led by Cork-based DP Marine Energy Ltd, will create up to 32 full time jobs.
The tidal park will have a generating capacity of up to 30MW – enough to power around 18,000 homes.
DP Marine Energy and development partner Bluepower NV, based in Belgium, secured a lease agreement with the Crown Estate for the development in 2011.
The planning process kicked off in 2009.
West Islay Tidal Energy Park will be one of the world’s first commercial scale tidal energy parks.
The site for development is approximately three square miles in an area in the Atlantic where tidal flows are near eight knots as water flows in to and out of the Irish Sea.
DP Marine Energy notes the proposed site has further development potential of up to 400MW if expanded into deeper water.
No date has been set for the development work to begin.
Scotland’s energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Marine renewable technologies offer huge potential to the Scottish economy – and to rural communities throughout the world.
“Scotland has a third of UK’s tidal stream resources and two thirds of its wave resources.
“We are also home to the world’s leading wave and tidal test centre, the world’s largest planned tidal stream array and the world’s largest tidal turbine.
“The West Islay Tidal Energy Park builds upon this strong foundation.
“Its 30 turbine array will generate up 30 MW, enough to power almost 18,000 homes, helping us to generate more clean, green electricity in Scotland and to meet our climate change obligations.”
Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “Scotland’s growing tidal industry is hitting new milestones.
“With a third of Europe’s tidal potential, Scotland’s powerful seas have a significant contribution to make in the fight against climate change.
“The renewable energy transition is happening globally at a pace many thought impossible only a few years ago.
“If Scotland is to continue to reap the benefits of innovation, slashing emissions, powering communities and creating local jobs, the Scottish Government’s final Energy Strategy must ensure there are policies in place to replicate the progress we’ve made on renewable electricity in the heat and transport sectors.”
DP Marine Energy have been approached for comment.
Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland is home to some of the most powerful tidal streams in Europe and already leads the world in the development of the cutting-edge devices which will allow us to harness their power.
“This announcement shows the continued ambition of this young sector as well as underlining the local employment and economic benefits which renewable energy can bring to some of our country’s most remote areas.”
Crown Estate Scotland chief executive Ronnie Quinn said: “This is fantastic news. Scotland has some of the best tidal and wave resources in the world and is showing the way in developing the potential for tidal energy.
“Crown Estate Scotland looks forward to working with the Islay tidal park’s development team as work progresses and to continue our work in helping to build strong, sustainable marine industries, of which offshore renewables is an important part.”