Sound of Islay Environmental Statement


Title: Sound of Islay Environmental Statement
Publication Date:
July 01, 2010
Pages: 17
Technology Type:

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ScottishPower Renewables (2010). Sound of Islay Environmental Statement. Report by Royal Haskoning and ScottishPower Renewables. pp 17.



  1. ScottishPower Renewables (UK) Limited (hereafter referred to as ScottishPower Renewables or SPR), is wholly owned by Iberdrola Renovables S.A., the global leader in wind energy. At the end of 2009 Iberdrola Renovables S.A. had 10,752 MW of global installed capacity, nearly 97% of which is wind. Of this capacity, 802MW was owned and operated by SPR, making it the leader in onshore wind in the UK.
  2. SPR aims to continue to expand its renewables capacity in the UK order to help the Scottish and UK Governments to meet their 2020 electricity generation targets from renewable sources. This includes the development of some of the newer renewable technologies including wave and tidal renewables.
  3. SPR wishes to construct, install and operate a demonstration tidal array within the Sound of Islay (Figure 1.1) (hereafter referred to as “the Development”). The Development will utilise the tidal flow running through the Sound to power tidal turbines during the flood and ebb tidal flows and gene rate electricity throughout these flow periods. The Development will comprise of up to 10, 1MW tidal turbines, which will be owned and operated by SPR.
  4. The proposed Development could be the first tidal array in UK waters and it will deliver power directly into the National Grid. This will assist both the Scottish and UK Governments in meeting their future energy targets and their reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Development capacity of 10MW equates to an average production of 26.3GWh p.a., which is enough to supply over 5500 average domestic households (
  5. An outline project description including the process involved is provided in Chapter 5: Project Description.
  6. This Environmental Statement (ES) is a description of the process and findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure. It is submitted to the Scottish Ministers, along with an application for the proposed Development for consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 ('the Act'). Additionally, Coastal Protection Act (CPA) and Food and Environment Protection Act (FEPA) consents will also be sought. The submission of an ES with a planning application is required for certain classes of project under the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (Scotland) Regulations 1999. An application for Section 36 consent under the Act comes with deemed planning permission, thereby removing the requirement for a separate planning application.
  7. The preparation of this ES report is also an integral component in ensuring that the investigation of any environmental impacts of the proposed project is robust and comprehensive. It highlights the key environmental issues that were considered to be associated with the development, and allows an unbiased prediction of their effects and relative significance. This has ensured that these issues were fully addressed and integrated into the final design of the Development. This report will also assist Scottish Ministers and Argyll and Bute Council in reaching a decision as to whether permission should be granted for the proposals.


Brief Description of the Development Site and its Setting


  1. The Development is to be located within the Sound of Islay, a narrow channel that separates the Isles of Islay and Jura on the west coast of Scotland (see Figure 1.1). The tidal resource of this channel is recognised as one of the best on the west coast of Scotland and is a preferred location 1 Note: This has been calculated using windfarm figures as none are currently available that are specific to tidal technology for the first array of its kind as the local topography of the area provides an optimised working environment due to its shelter from westerly storms that are prevalent elsewhere along the coast.
  2. The array will take advantage of the Hammerfest HS1000 tidal turbine technology (Figure 1.2), a fully submerged tripod mounted 1MW rated device, which will be deployed within the Sound of Islay at depths greater than 48m. The device is designed to generate electricity when the tidal flow rotates the turbine. It is capable of generating during the flood and ebb phases of the tidal cycle.


Proposed Development


  1. The Development is described in detail in Chapter 5: Project Description and summarised here.
  2. The Development comprises an array of 10 tidal turbines (Hammerfest HS1000) arranged below the 48m bathymetric contour (with the shallowest turbine being located in 50m of water) in the Sound of Islay, a channel of water between the islands of Islay and Jura. The turbines will comprise of a tripod substructure supporting a nacelle and three-bladed rotor turning about the horizontal axis – bearing much similarity with a modern wind turbine. However, the rotor diameter will be considerably smaller than a wind turbine, at only 23m. The maximum height to blade tip from the seabed is 33.5m. This will allow a minimum clearance from the surface of the water to the top of the blade of 16.5m.
  3. The turbine to be employed for the purposes of the Development is the Hammerfest Strøm HS1000.
  4. In addition to the turbines there will be some ancillary structures involved in the proposed Development. These include cabling to the island of Jura and a subsequent connection to a substation located there.
  5. The operational life of the Development will be for a minimum of 7 years, with a potential extension of a further 7 years (totalling 14 years). After this there will be a decommissioning plan in place to remove the turbines and associated infrastructure; however, there may be the option at that time to gain further consent to extend the project beyond its 14 year life.
  6. The Development will require a grid connection, which will be subject of a separate Section 37 consent under the Electricity Act 1989. This will be conducted separately to this EIA process and will not be considered further here.
  7. A description of the design and is provided in Chapter 4: Site Selection and a full description of the Development is provided in Chapter 5: Project Description.


Renewable Energy


  1. Global Climate Change is seen as being one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today. One of the primary reasons for the current rate of temperature increase is the higher concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. One of the principal gasses is Carbon Dioxide (CO2) primarily produced through our dependence on the burning of fossil fuels to generate our electricity.
  2. Renewable energy sources (such as tidal, wave and wind) are infinite resource s and create no CO2 or other air pollutants during operation. Therefore, developments designed to capture such energy resources do not contribute to climate change during operation.
  3. Renewable energy is an integral part of the UK Government's longer-term aim of reducing CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050. In 2000 the UK Government set a target to produce 10% of electricity supply from renewable energy by 2010, and in 2006 announced its aspiration to double that level to 20% by 2020 (BERR, 2009). In November 2007 the Scottish Government set a new target to generate 50% of Scotland's electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with an interim target of 31% by 2011 (Scottish Government, 2007).
  4. The energy produced from the Development would contribute to meeting the Scottish Governments target of providing 50% of Scotland's energy generation from renewable sources by 2020.
  5. The Future Generation Group Report 2005: “Scotland's Renewable Energy Potential: Realising the 2020 Target”, published by the Scottish Executive on behalf of the Forum for Renewable Development in Scotland (FREDS – a Government/Industry forum) in June 2005. This identifies for the first time that an installed capacity of 6,000MW is required to meet this 2020 target.
  6. The Development has been proposed, in part, to respond to these requirements for renewable energy production.


Scotland’s Tidal Resource


  1. According to Scottish Government figures (Scottish Government, 2009) Scotland possesses 25% of the total European tidal resource.
  2. The UK and Scottish Governments are committed to increasing the proportion of electricity produced through marine renewable sources. Costs remain high at the moment for both wave and tidal projects; however, this is a new industry sector and costs are likely to fall as they have done within the wind sector over the last decade. The experience of early projects will play a key role in promoting cost reduction.


Benefits in Reduced Emissions of Carbon Dioxide


  1. The Development will provide significant benefits through the avoidance of fossil fuels for electricity generation. The potential reduction in emissions of CO2 as a result of the 10 turbine tidal development is estimated to be approximately 11,300 tonnes of CO2. This assumes that the 10MW tidal development operates at a capacity factor of 0.30 and is based on the calculations on the Renewable UK website (


Planning Policy Context


  1. The proposed footprint (Figure 1.1) of the Development (marine and terrestrial components) lies entirely within the local authority area of Argyll and Bute.
  2. The planning policy context of the Development is summarised in Chapter 6: Planning Policy Context.


Environmental Statement Structure


Environmental Statement and Technical Appendices


    1. This written volume is the main body of the ES (there is also a Non-Technical Summary volume and the various Technical Appendices). It is divided into a number of background and technical chapters detailing the various studies that have been carried out to support the production of the ES. A set of Appendices is also provided giving appropriate additional information to support the chapters. A list of the appendices is provided in Table 2.4 (Chapter 2: Scoping and Assessment Methodology):
    2. SPR have secured a lease option for a substantial new tidal project at Ness of Duncans by in the Pentland Firth. At 95MW this is a major project which, in itself, could be a precursor to even larger developments in that area, although this is out with the scope of this ES. The Islay Demonstration Tidal Array will provide technical, environmental and commercial learning which will be essential to facilitate the deployment of projects in the Pentland Firth.

Non - Technical Summary

  1. A separate summary is presented, providing an overview of the Development, site selection and design alternatives, environmental effects and mitigation measures.


Project Team


  1. The ES has been compiled by Royal Haskoning (UK) Ltd. and presents the results of the assessment of environmental effects undertaken by a number of specialist consultants. These consultants are presented in Table 1.2, along with their respective disciplines and contribution to the ES.
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