Scotland set for giant tidal stream development

The world's largest tidal stream array, which is set to be built in North Scotland, has agreed terms for a funding package to kick start the construction of the 398MW project.

Tidal power firm Atlantis Resources has successfully raised £50m to support Phase 1A of its MeyGen project in Pentland Firth, which will provide power for more than 175,000 homes across the country when complete.

“Today, we are witnessing the transformation of a sector,” said Atlantis CEO and MeyGen director Tim Cornelius. “MeyGen is one of the most exciting and innovative renewable energy developments in the world, marking the long-awaited arrival of tidal stream generation as a serious, large-scale player in global energy markets.”

MeyGen will have the potential to provide clean, sustainable, predictable power for Scotland; supporting more than 100 jobs, reducing carbon emissions and delivering significant, long-term supply chain benefits for the UK economy.

The first development stage will see the installation of four 1.5MW turbines over the next two years, rising to 61 turbines by 2020. It is expected that this phase alone will produce enough power for more than 42,000 homes in Scotland. When completed, the project will include up to 269 turbines submerged on the seabed.

Global leader

The project has won the support of the Scottish Government via Scottish Enterprise’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund, along with the British Government and The Crown Estate.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “This innovative and exciting project puts Scotland and the UK on the map as a global leader in marine technology – meaning jobs, better energy security and the potential to export this technology to the world.

“The project also shows what can be done when the UK and Scottish Governments work together to provide a lasting benefit for the people of Scotland.

“Meygen will be the biggest tidal stream array in the world, providing enough electricity for 175,000 homes and 100 ‘green jobs’ when completed. Wave and tidal power have the potential to provide more than 20% of the UK’s electricity needs, and Meygen could pave the way for future projects in the Pentland Firth.”

The Department for Energy & Climate Change estimates that the UK alone has around 50% of Europe’s tidal energy resource and that it could meet 20% of the UK’s electricity demand. Meanwhile, polling data released last month revealed that almost half of UK voters see investing in renewables as a top priority over any other form of energy when it comes to ensuring the nation’s energy security. 

Luke Nicholls

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