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Pentland Firth Grid Connections To Be Investigated

11th September 2008

Consultants have been appointed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Scottish Government to identify options for renewable energy producers in the Pentland Firth, between Caithness and Orkney, to connect energy supplies to the grid.

Xero Energy Ltd has been awarded the contract through the Pentland Firth Tidal Energy Project. Xero Energy will assess the present day grid capacity in the region and provide recommendations on what grid infrastructure and improvements will be required for the project to meet its objectives.

The tidal energy project aims to support the development of a marine energy industry in the Pentland Firth to the significant benefit of the local and national economies in a sustainable and environmentally aware way.

Audrey MacIver, head of HIE's energy team said: "We are very pleased to be awarding this contract as issues relating to the electricity grid are key to the future of renewable energy and hence the economy all over the Highlands and Islands."

This is the first piece of work that the Pentland Firth Tidal Energy Project has commissioned, and project manager Louise Smith said she hoped that it marked the start of a significant phase in a new industry for the region.

Nigel Scott of Xero Energy commented: "We are delighted to be working with HIE to develop a blueprint for grid connection of Pentland Firth marine energy against what is, by any account, a challenging grid related engineering and regulatory landscape. We hope this will lead to big things."

The Pentland Firth Tidal Energy Project is one of the key initiatives being promoted by the Caithness Regeneration Partnership, established early last year to help develop the economy during the run-down of the nuclear plant. The Partnership is made up of four agencies - Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Highland Council, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) and the Scottish Government.

For more on the Caithness Rgeneration Partnership go to


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