A pioneering renewable energy deal to share transmission access to the Grid in Caithness has been agreed between tidal power giant Atlantis Resources and a four-turbine ‘minnow’ local wind farm.
Lochend Wind Energy, which is developing a wind farm close to MeyGen’s onshore site in Caithness, has signed an agreement to deliver electricity to the grid whenever the MeyGen tidal project – a wholly-owned Atlantis subsidiary – is not making full use of export capacity.
The first phase of the MeyGen project has recently been connected to the 33kV Ness of Quoys distribution network in Caithness and is on schedule to deliver first-power later this year.
As a result, this part of the distribution network to which MeyGen is now connected is now fully utilised so there is no additional capacity for other generators until wider transmission upgrade works are completed over the next few years.
But, as a result of the predictable and cyclical nature of tidal generation, there is a unique opportunity for other energy projects to gain access to the grid at those times when the MeyGen project is not generating at maximum output, thus facilitating increased generation in the near term from the area’s renewable resources.
This will result in improved utilisation of the existing grid network without affecting MeyGen’s generation, and is believed to be the first such combination of a wind and tidal project of its kind in the UK.
Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive, Atlantis Resources, said: “Tidal power makes for more efficient grid use and management, and we are delighted to have been able to assist a local wind farm in getting connected.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the additional value of our secured grid capacity around the UK and the importance of tidal power as a predictable cornerstone of a diverse and sustainable electricity mix.
“We believe this to be a world first, and to show that the predictability of generation from the tides can also benefit other forms of renewable energy by allowing those generators to accurately forecast and access spare grid capacity.
“Sharing transmission assets in this way and capitalising on the predictability of tidal power will ensure that, in the long term, our energy needs are better served whilst also maximising access to a constrained network in the immediate future, and we’re looking forward to delivering first-power to the grid later this year.”
Registered in Edinburgh, Lochend Wind Energy’s registered directors include two Lithuanian businessmen and engineering director Neil Hammond.