Pentland Firth tidal energy giant welcomes £550m new Brit-Govt clean energy auction

EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News

Brit-Govt Energy Minister Richard Harrington, MP, yesterday announced funding of up to £557 million for ‘less established’ renewable electricity projects as part of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy to drive economic growth and clean up the energy system.

This could provide a major boost to Atlantis Resources plc, the developer and majority owner of the world’s largest tidal stream project, MeyGen, located in the Pentland Firth off Caithness.

The first phase of this project is operating well and has generated more than 3,000 MWh. When fully complete, the project will have an installed capacity of 398 MW.

As exclusively reported earlier this week in Scottish Energy News, Atlantis recently asked Harrington to immediately open talks with its MeyGen subsidiary for a 15-year CfD for 80 MW of capacity at £150/MWh after missing out on the recent power-supply auction.

What you DIDN'T read elsewhere: Scottish Energy News 10 Oct 2017
What you DIDN’T read elsewhere: Scottish Energy News 10 Oct 2017

Otherwise, the UK marine energy is a risk of ‘immediate flight’ to France and other rival locations around the world, Atlantis warned.

Following the new Brit-Govt announcement, renewable energy developers will compete for up to £557 million of funding in Contracts for Difference auctions to drive down energy costs for consumers and increase business confidence.

The latest auction saw the cost of new offshore wind fall by 50% compared to the first auction held in 2015 and resulted in over 3GW of new generation which could power 3.6 million homes.

Harrington said: “The government’s Clean Growth Strategy <due to be announced next week> will set out how the whole of the UK can benefit from the global move to a low carbon economy.

“We’ve shown beyond doubt that renewable energy projects are an effective way to cut our emissions, while creating thousands of good jobs and attracting billions of pounds worth of investment.”

A senior source at Edinburgh-based MeyGen said last night: “This is a very welcome announced by Brit-Govt as it opens up a huge new pot to support ‘less established’ renewable technologies. 

“It’s a real positive and we would expect tidal stream to feature heavily.

“BEIS have been excellent in their recent engagement on the MeyGen project. They know it is world leading and must get built.”

The Clean Growth Strategy will look across the whole of the economy and the country. It includes proposals on housing, business, transport and the environment, as well as the power sector. It will also show how actions taken to tackle emissions have helped to reduce energy bills for households.

The next Contracts for Difference auction is planned for spring 2019.

Andrew Jamieson, Chief Executive of Glasgow-based Brit-Govt renewable energy quango ORE Catapult, commented: “A new Contracts for Difference Auction for offshore wind is welcome. It will bolster confidence in the sector, enabling the industry to continue to drive innovation and build a strong UK supply chain, which is essential for continued cost reduction, job creation and powering the UK economy.”

12 Oct 2017

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