MeyGen Ltd – which is the developer of the world’s largest tidal energy project – has formally opened its new UK head office in Edinburgh.
MeyGen – which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of London stock-market-listed Atlantis Resources – is developing the ground-breaking 398MW tidal array project in the Pentland Firth off northern Scotland.
When fully completed, the MeyGen project will have the potential to provide clean, sustainable, predictable power for 175,000 homes in Scotland, support more than 100 jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and deliver significant, long-term supply chain benefits for UK economy.
The MeyGen project, owned by AIM-listed tidal power company Atlantis Resources, successfully led a funding syndicate to raise approximately £50 million which will be used to finance the initial stage of the wider MeyGen project.
This initial stage (Phase 1A) will include the installation of 4 x1.5 megawatt turbines offshore as well as the construction of all onshore infrastructure to support the project, including the onshore power conversion centre and grid connection.
When completed, the project will include up to 269 turbines submerged on the seabed, generating enough energy for 175,000 homes in Scotland. 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.
Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive, Atlantis Resources and Director, MeyGen Ltd, said: “Today, we are witnessing the transformation of a sector. 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.
“I am proud that Atlantis will become the first company to successfully develop a project of this kind, at this size, from Scotland – making Atlantis the first independent power producer from a tidal array.”
Originally from Melbourne, Cornelius – who also spent time in South Africa before moving to Aberdeen where he was a lead ROV pilot / diver in the offshore oil sector – has been very much the brains behind Atlantis.
Using his sub-sea experience skill set – which readily transferred from oil and gas sector to marine-power renewables – Cornelius later gained an MBA and identified major marine power market opportunities which led to Atlantis being incorporated first in in Singapore in 2005, and subsequently loating in an IPO earlier this year on the London stock exchange.
Scottish Energy News asked Tim Cornelius; “So why Scotland? And why now?
Speaking from across his Edinburgh board room table, he replied: “It’s pretty much a no-brainer. Scotland has the right combination of political will and size.
“It also has the right combination of natural resources, the right transmission connections to the grid/ electricity supply networks – and the right combination of market signals to allow time to generate a return on capital for investors and to facilitate finance-raising
“In addition, there’s a great skill-set and ‘can do’ experience of a mature oil and gas field work force – working in often challenge weather and hard to access locations – in Scotland.
“This combination of skills and experience in the offshore industry in Scotland is the best in the world. Every one I meet in the offshore sector is well up for, and used to, problem-solving.”
“And there’s also good support from the public sector for research and development and for early-stage commercialisation projects.”
Earlier this year, Cornelius was name as Singapore’s Chief Executive Of The Year in the 2014 Business Excellence Awards by Acquisition International for ‘his inspiring leadership and outstanding contribution’ to the energy sector.
Atlantis Resources is a vertically integrated turbine supplier and project owner in the tidal power industry, and has spent over $100 million to date developing its technology and projects. The company holds equity positions in a diverse portfolio of tidal stream development projects, which includes 100% ownership of MeyGen Ltd.
As the first large-scale tidal project of its type in the world to successfully reach a funding agreement, MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth may be a catalyst for the entire global tidal power market, signalling the transition of the industry from demonstration projects to commercial arrays.
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.
The funding syndicate includes: Atlantis; the Department of Energy (DECC) and the Scottish Government’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF).
The finance package also includes a combination of equity, debt and grants, and 60% of the project cost will be invested in the UK supply chain. Significant project supply chain partners will include ABB, Andritz Hydro Hammerfest, Global Energy Group and James Fisher plc.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey commented: “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 (DECC) estimates that the UK has around 50% of Europe’s tidal energy resource and that it could meet 20% of the UK’s electricity demand. Tidal power is not only expected to play a major role in replacing ageing 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.