News regarding the world’s largest tidal stream farm, set to be developed in Scotland, has been coming thick and fast lately. Just last week the owner of the development rights for the Pentland Firth project, Atlantis Resources Limited, announced that they had awarded ABB the contract to install tidal power conversion and grid connection systems.
Today, Atlantis announced in an emailed statement that they had raised approximately $83 million to start construction of the four 1.5 MW tidal turbines for the MeyGen project.
“MeyGen will be the biggest tidal stream array in the world, providing enough electricity for 175,000 homes and 100 green jobs when created,” UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey said in the statement. “Wave and tidal power have the potential to provide more than 20 percent of the U.K.’s electricity needs.”
The funds were raised from U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Crown Estate, and Atlantis.
Construction is expected to start later this year, with the first power to be delivered to the grid by 2016.
These first four turbines are part of the 86 MW “demonstration” phase of the MeyGen project, which could eventually reach up to 398 MW and provide clean electricity to 175,000 UK households. In the long run, a project such as this could have enormous benefits — not only due to the immediate generation of clean electricity, but eventually pushing forward the marine renewable energy industry as a whole.
A report released earlier this month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance made it clear that marine renewable energy development was taking a lot longer than had initially been thought. However, as Angus McCrone noted, a senior analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “there is clearly huge political support for the MeyGen project, as seen by the dominant role that public sector money is playing in this financing” — support that will hopefully replicate in the future.
“This is a great day for the industry and a major step forward in bringing commercial tidal projects online,” said RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery. “We have moved one step closer to seeing tidal energy fulfill its great potential and become a significant contributor to the electricity mix.
“Collaboration between government and industry, as witnessed in this project, is fundamental to the success of this sector and the fact that 60% of the project cost will be spent in the UK supply chain demonstrates the economic benefits that this can unlock, with potential for thousands of jobs over the next decade. This news further solidifies the UK’s position as the world leader in tidal energy.”