GSK wins tidal contract

GLAXOSMITHKLINE has been granted a tidal energy contract by the Crown Estate as the first step towards generating its own green energy for its Montrose factory.

The company beat three other bidders to win the contract, which was awarded in the latest round of licence allocations.

It has proposed to site 15 tidal turbines under the South Esk bridge which it has said would also help to cut carbon emissions significantly. The scheme would be separate from its proposals for two 426-feet high wind turbines at its Cobden Street site although both would for part of GSK’s wider carbon reduction plan and complement energy efficiency promoted and implemented on site and in the manufacturing process.

The contract was one of nine awarded by the Crown Estate, which owns the majority of the seabed within the 12-nautical mile limit of UK territorial waters, as part of a tendering process begun in April and effectively gives GSK permission to use part of the riverbed for the project.

A GSK spokesman this week confirmed the company had won the contract for the South Esk estuary but said it was the first step in a long process towards installing the tidal turbines.

He said: “The Crown Estate granted the contract in the last round of licences for GSK to lease a section of the seabed.

“This is one of the phases GSK needs to go through in terms of working towards this scheme to put turbines on the river bed on either side of Montrose bridge. There are quite a few stages of which the Crown Estate is the first. We have to apply to Marine Scotland for a marine generation licence and we also have to apply to Angus Council.

“A substation would have to be installed on-shore to relay the electricity from the turbines to the site.”

The company hopes that the wind turbines alone, which would be located on the south side of its site next to the estuary, will slash its carbon emissions by around 75 per cent.

A planning application for the scheme is due to be lodged with Angus Council in early December but opposition to the wind turbines has been growing since GSK announced the project in the summer.

An online petition at Gopetition.com objecting to the turbines’ potential impact on the Montrose skyline has collected almost 200 signatures.

Ferryden residents have also set up their own action group to campaign against the proposals and the matter has been under discussion by the village’s community council since September. It is also on the agenda for this month’s meeting which will be held tonight (Thursday) at 7pm in Ferryden Primary School.