DP Energy Acquires SSE’s Tidal Energy Project

DP Energy Acquires SSE's Tidal Energy Project

Cork based DP Energy is set to become Europe’s largest independent developer of tidal stream projects following SSE Renewables’ transfer of an Agreement for Lease (AfL) with The Crown Estate.

The transfer will see DP Energy take on the development of the Westray South project in Orkney, Scotland, with the potential to install up to 200MW of tidal turbines over two phases. The continued development of the project and engagement with key stakeholders has been a key objective of the transfer and a consent application for the first 60MW phase is due to be submitted later this year.

The investment required to construct phase one of the project is expected to be in the region of £200million and will generate enough electricity to power 40,000 homes and saving an estimated 56,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The Westray South site is adjacent to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) tidal test facility in Orkney, and it’s relatively sheltered location and moderate water depths make it a promising early development site.

Simon De Pietro, managing director of DP Energy, says the transfer places the company he and his mother Maureen established originally as an early stage wind development company firmly at the top of the marine energy development sector.

“This is a very significant development for DP Energy and is a further expression of our confidence in tidal energy generation as a key component in the portfolio of reliable, predictable and emissions free power sources needed to take us into a more self-sustainable future,” says Mr De Pietro.

“The approach we take is technology neutral and based on the fact that the site and project comes first and that technology is simply a means of achieving cost competitiveness and driving down the cost of energy. This ensures projects are buildable in the future as the least cost solution develops and as the industry matures and ensures potential competition in the market,” says De Pietro. “Despite remaining technology-neutral, DPME is partnering on a project specific basis with credible OEMs and with demonstrated and competent technologies.”

Richard Escott, Head of Offshore Development at SSE Renewables said: “As part of the ongoing review of our marine assets which we began last September, we have decided that the best option for our Westray South project is to transfer the ongoing and future development of the project to DP Marine Energy Ltd. DP Energy has a clear strategy for developing marine projects and we are pleased to be able to hand on this project to a committed developer.”

The acquisition increases DP Energy’s overall portfolio of tidal energy projects to 330MW making the company the largest such independent developer in Europe, with a number of other projects in the pipeline.

The firm is one of Europe’s longest established onshore wind farm development specialists and has created a specialised subsidiary, DP Marine Energy (DPME) to develop utility grade and large megawatt capacity ocean energy projects in key markets worldwide.

The Crown Estate manages leasing for UK offshore renewables (but is not the planning authority or the regulator). The AfL gives developers exclusivity on sites, enabling them to progress projects through development and planning.

Press release, April 3, 2014; Image: SSE