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Proposals submitted for £500m tidal farm off Antrim coast

By John Mulgrew

A £500m renewable energy project in Co Antrim has taken another step forward after it submitted plans to install tidal turbines. Cork-based DP Energy says work off the coast of Ballycastle could begin in 2018.

The renewable energy firm behind proposals to install a 100MW tidal generation scheme off the Fair Head coastline has lodged a planning application for permission to install tidal turbines on the seabed and associated infrastructure to bring the power ashore.

Clodagh McGrath, project manager of Fair Head Tidal, says the feedback so far from the community has been positive.

"We initially engaged with the local communities of Ballycastle, Rathlin and the broader north coast in May 2014, outlining our development approach and plans for an programme of site surveys.

"We returned in August last year to share further details including the findings from the surveys.

"Consultation with local communities is a valued part of our development process and will continue going forward."

The company says the supporting environment statement "contains details on the different types of tidal turbine technologies being considered for the site, together with findings from the surveys undertaken and environmental impact assessments".

The application follows a period of consultation, which included two rounds of public information days.

The project is the second of two tidal schemes off the north Antrim coast to have secured agreement from The Crown Estate for the development of large scale tidal energy projects.

"It is intended that the Fair Head Tidal project would be developed in two stages," Ms McGrath said.

"The first stage would be to install an array of perhaps four to six turbines.

"The second stage would be more substantial, completing the scheme's 100MW output, which we calculate would supply enough energy to power some 70,000 homes."

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