Renewable energy company DP Marine Energy Ltd has been granted planning consent by the Scottish Government to build a 30-turbine tidal park off the coast of Islay, the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides islands off the west coast of Scotland.

When complete, the West Islay Tidal Energy Park will be one of the world’s first commercial-scale tidal energy parks.

With first transmission estimated for late 2019, it will have a generating capacity of up to 30 megawatts - enough to power around 18,000 homes - and provide up to 32 full-time jobs for the island.

The project has an Agreement for Lease from The Crown Estate to build the park in an eight square kilometre area six kilometres to the west of Portnahaven, Islay.

DP Energy Ltd is working on the project with Belgian company Bluepower NV, whose shareholders include the offshore contractor, DEME, and utility, Nuhma.

The array will help to generate more clean, green electricity in Scotland and to meet climate change obligations.

Announcing the news, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, 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."

The site is said to have future development potential to generate up to 400MW with expansion to deeper water.

The tidal resource around this part of the Scottish Coast is substantial with flows approaching eight knots as the water from the Atlantic flows into and out of the northern part of the Irish Sea. This, combined with the flat sea bed across the site with water depths of between 35 and 50 metres, plus the absence of large concentrations of resident marine life, make it particularly suitable for tidal turbines.