Pentland Firth tidal project sets record-breaking month for electricity generation

Turbines harnessing tidal energy in the Pentland Firth have set a world record for monthly tidal stream power production, after phase one of the MeyGen marine project produced more than 700 MWh in the month of August.

Developed by marine power generators Atlantis, the MeyGen tidal energy project is expected to have an 86MW capacity upon completion. Located in the Pentland Firth, the project has been labelled the world’s largest tidal stream project under construction.

Atlantis revealed that 2GWh has been produced since the project first started delivering to the grid in November 2016. However, following the reintroduction of two Andritz Hydro Hammerfest (“AHH”) turbines as part of an operational update in July, output has accelerated.

“The production performance from the installed turbines on the MeyGen project has been very good,” Atlantis’ director of project delivery for MeyGen David Taaffe said.

“August proved to be a world record month, providing enough energy to power 2,000 Scottish homes from just two turbines. With yet another successful installation campaign expertly completed this week by the Atlantis operations team, we expect to continue to break records throughout the rest of the year generating both predictable power and revenue.”

Atlantis expects that phase one of the MeyGen project will reach a full capacity of 6MW by the end of the third-quarter of 2017. The final version of the project will consist of 61 turbines with a permitted capacity of up to 86MW.

Commenting on the record-breaking month, Scottish Renewables’ policy manager Hannah Smith said: “The tides that flow through the Pentland Firth are some of the most powerful anywhere on earth and harnessing them has meant using machines and skills which have never before been tested on a commercial scale.

“This latest record is just one in a long line for the MeyGen project, which is leading the world in tidal energy deployment. If the determination and ingenuity shown to date are anything to go by, it won’t be the last.”

The tides are turning

The UK is primed to lead Europe’s £46bn wave energy market opportunity. Research from Marine Power Systems estimates that estimated global wave resources could potentially reach 4,000TWh annually. In comparison, current global electricity consumption sits at around 21,000TWh and is expected to double by 2050.

Specifically, the report named the UK, which has already invested £450m into the sector, as an area to lead the exploration. Europe also looks set to benefit, as it accounts for 45% of wave energy companies, and the UK is accountable for a third of the EU’s wave energy potential.

“News of this world record for monthly production is a really exciting moment,” WWF Scotland’s acting director Sam Gardner. “This is a sign that Scotland is really making progress in harnessing the power of our seas and that we’re on our way to securing a low carbon future. 

“By supporting projects like this one, which provide clean, predictable, homegrown power, the Scottish Government can help fight climate change, strengthen our energy security and drive further job creation in sustainable industries.”

Individuals can now invest directly into Atlantis’ tidal power projects through a five-year Debenture, which will pay 8% a year, issued by subsidiary Atlantis Ocean Energy. Investment in the scheme starts from £5 and the debentures are eligible to be held tax-free in an Innovative Finance ISA. The bond offer hopes to raise at least £2m.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie