MeyGen, the world’s largest tidal stream development, has secured a £50 million funding package to finance the construction of the first phase of its groundbreaking 398mw tidal array project in the Pentland Firth.
When fully completed, the MeyGen project will have the potential to provide clean, sustainable, predictable power for 175,000 homes; support more than 100 jobs; reduce carbon emissions, and deliver significant long-term supply chain benefits for UK economy.
MeyGen, owned by AIM-listed tidal power company Atlantis Resources, has led a funding syndicate to raise approximately £50 million to finance the initial stage of the project.
This initial stage (Phase 1A) will include the installation of four 1.5mw turbines offshore as well as the construction of all onshore infrastructure to support the project, including the onshore power conversion centre and grid connection.
The funding syndicate includes Atlantis, UK Department of Energy (DECC), Crown Estate and the Scottish Government’s jobs quangos, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands Enterprise.
Major supply chain partners include the ABB engineering conglomerate, Andritz Hydro Hammerfest, Global Energy Group and James Fisher plc.
The first project at commercial scale of its type, MeyGen project will use tidal stream turbines supplied by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest and a Lockheed Martin designed turbine supplied by Atlantis. Not dissimilar in appearance to wind turbines, sub-sea tidal stream turbines are installed on the seabed and generate electricity from the ebb and flow of the sea’s tides.
When completed, the project will include up to 269 turbines submerged on the seabed. The total first phase (Phase 1) of the project alone (61 turbines / 86mw) is expected to provide enough electricity for 42,000 homes in Scotland. Construction is expected to begin later this year, with the first electricity anticipated to be delivered to the grid by 2016.
Approximately 50 direct jobs will be created during Phase 1 of the project, with a further 70 indirect roles created throughout the supply chain.
The UK Department for Energy (DECC) 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.
Scotland alone has 25% of Europe’s tidal power and 10% of Europe’s wave resources around its coasts.
Tidal power is not only expected to play a major role in replacing the UK’s aging coal and gas fired power plants, but its highly-predictable nature means that it avoids many of the challenges associated with managing electricity generated by unpredictable, and often controversial, land-based renewable technologies such as onshore wind and solar farms.
Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive, Atlantis, and MeyGen director said: “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.”
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey added:“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.”