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.
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.
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.