Atlantis appoints Lockheed Martin to build turbines for world’s largest tidal energy project in Pentland Firth


CGI image of a Lockheed Martin 1.5MW AR1500 tidal turbine for Atlantis’ MeyGen project.
CGI image of a Lockheed Martin 1.5MW AR1500 tidal turbine for Atlantis’ MeyGen project

Atlantis Resources, majority owner of the world’s largest tidal stream energy project, MeyGen, has agreed a construction contract with global defence contractor Lockheed Martin for the delivery of Atlantis’ new 1.5 megawatt AR1500 marine turbines for its Pentland Firth tidal power project.

The 18 metre rotor diameter AR1500 turbine – due for dockside delivery in Scotland in 2016 –  will be one of the largest capacity single rotor turbines ever built.

The AR1500 turbine will have an active rotor pitching system and full nacelle yawing capability. The Lockheed Martin turbine construction contract scope includes the manufacture of the steel turbine housing, the assembly of all the turbine modules (including the gearbox and generator) and the systems integration and quality assurance of the overall turbine delivery programme. Lockheed and Atlantis are working with the supply chain in Scotland to maximise local content for the AR1500.

This announcement marks the latest step in the Atlantis – Lockheed Martin relationship and builds on Lockheed Martin’s contribution under the AR1500 detailed design contract.

The yaw drive and variable pitch system that will be integrated into the AR1500 are being developed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin as part of their commitment under the existing technology partnership teaming agreement struck between Atlantis and Lockheed in 2013.

Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive, Atlantis Resources2Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive of Atlantis, commented: “This new multi-million pound contract with Lockheed Martin fully cements the strong relationship that exists between two companies which are at the forefront of tidal power generation. 

“Lockheed Martin has been a strong partner and supporter of Atlantis for a number of years and we look forward to continuing to work alongside this global technology giant as we continue to deliver turbine systems for installation on the MeyGen project going forward.”

Meanwhile, contractors have also started horizontal directional drilling operations at the MeyGen site in Caithness, to create the bores for the cables which will link the onshore site at Ness of Quoys with the four subsea turbines. 

Each of the four bores will be approximately 550m long, and is designed to contain a 4.4kV cable through which tidally generated energy can be exported from the turbines to the onshore grid connection.

The drilling is expected to take four months and will be carried out by Manchester-based O’Connor Utilities Ltd. Construction works have been underway at the onshore site since January to prepare the necessary infrastructure for this important phase of the project.

 MeyGen is one of the first tidal projects in the world to secure the necessary planning consent, lease agreement, grid connection and power purchase agreement in order to begin onshore and offshore construction. Construction of the first phase of the project is expected to take place throughout 2015 and 2016, with first power being delivered to the grid for sale in 2016.


Talking about MeyGen-eration

The MeyGen project is the largest planned tidal development project in the world at 398 megawatts of total installed capacity when fully constructed. Situated in the Pentland Firth, Scotland, the MeyGen array will consist of 269 submerged tidal turbines.

The construction of the MeyGen tidal array will take place in stages, including:

  • Phase 1A: the first 6MW (4 turbines): Enough to power approximately 3000 Scottish homes
  • Phase 1: the first 86MW (61 turbines in total): Enough to power approximately 42,000 Scottish homes
  • The complete 398 MW (269 turbines): Enough to power approximately 175,000 Scottish homes 

In July 2014, MeyGen signed a turbine supply agreement with Andritz Hydro Hammerfest to supply three 1.5 megawatt tidal power turbines for Phase 1A of the MeyGen project. MeyGen has also signed a turbine supply agreement with Atlantis to supply one of its own 1.5MW tidal power turbines for Phase 1A.

In September 2014, Atlantis announced a £51.3 million project finance package for MeyGen, including a mixture of debt, equity and grants from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, Scottish Enterprise, The Crown Estate and Highlands and Islands Enterprise for the construction of Phase 1A of the MeyGen project.

The Atlantis group retains a holding of more than 86% in MeyGen, and Scottish Enterprise’s holding, as a new shareholder, is 13.5%

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