Clean Power 3-D cutaway of MeyGen tidal stream project (MeyGen)

Published on August 20th, 2014 | by Sandy Dechert


ABB Will Link MayGen Tidal Power To UK Grid

August 20th, 2014 by  

3-D cutaway of MeyGen tidal power project (MeyGen)
Atlantis Resources Limited
, owner of development rights to the Pentland Firth, has awarded Zurich-based ABB the contract to install tidal power conversion and grid connection systems for the four-turbine, 6-megawatt demonstration phase of the MeyGen tidal stream project. ABB is the world’s premier maker of power grids and a well-known multinational engineering company.

Europe’s largest tidal power project and a cornerstone of world marine energy development, MeyGen will supply clean and renewable electricity to the UK National Grid by harvesting the tidal stream resources of one of the most active maritime sites in Europe. The Pentland Firth lies between the Scottish mainland on the south and the Orkney Islands to its north.

Location of planned MeyGen tidal power project between Scottish mainland and Stroma (MeyGen)The firth connects the Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea. At 5 meters (15 feet) per second, its tidal currents are among the fastest in the British Isles. The project will harvest tidal energy from the Inner Sound of the firth, which passes between the mainland and the small, unpopulated island of Stroma. It is expected to start generating electricity by 2016.

ABB described its new role in a statement yesterday:

ABB is responsible for the onshore power conversion and grid connection systems to feed the electricity safely and reliably into the local distribution grid. ABB’s project scope includes design, engineering, supply and commissioning of the power conversion, switchgear and transformer solution as well as associated civil engineering and cabling works. Major product supplies include transformers, medium voltage switchgear and power converters.

Admiralty chart of MeyGen tidal power location (MeyGen)In its entirety, the initial phase of the MeyGen project may generate up to 86 MW of electricity, enough tidal power for around 42,000 homes, or almost 40% of the households in the Scottish Highlands. MeyGen hopes to deploy up to 398 MW of offshore tidal power turbines in the Pentland Firth over the next decade.

As Joshua Hill reported last month for CleanTechnica, the UK’s Crown Estate is significantly expanding the nation’s capacity to harness its excellent wave and tidal energy resources. The Crown Estate has also just agreed on seabed rights for six new demonstration zones and five other project sites.

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About the Author

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

  • spec9

    Wave power is pretty tough since that equipment gets beat up pretty bad. But I’d think they could make some reliable underwater turbines for tidal power. Put some underneath the Golden Gate Bridge . . . that has POWERFUL tides since it is a narrow opening to a very large bay.

    • Offgridman

      It would be possible to put some in there but it is a relatively narrow area compared to this so may not be room enough to pay off financially. Also even the test devices are pretty big and with all the shipping through there it might cause problems at low tide as it seems that I have heard that some of the really big ships only come through at high tide. So the remoteness of this project is able to avoid causing any interference to shipping lanes.

  • JamesWimberley

    MeyGen have not yet picked their turbine supplier from a shortlist of two, Andritz Hydro Hammerfest and Atlantis. Siemens are also in this business. Seems a lot for a market that’s inherently limited by sites.The Pentland Firth is off the NE tip of Scotland. a very remote location.

    • Will E

      Why not spend the money on land wind power turbines. Schotland has lots of wind. no need to go offshore and plenty coastline to build wind turbines. like the Siemens 6 mgw direct drive windturbines.
      Schotland can be the Energy supplier for UK and Europe with cheap windpower.

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