What is set to be the largest tidal array in the world met a significant milestone earlier this week in the north of Scotland. In the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth the first 1.5MW tidal turbine, made by Andritz Hammerfest, delivered electricity to the mainland UK Grid. The device is the first of four turbines in Phase 1a of the project, which when completed, will generate close to 400MW of clean, reliable and predictable electricity.
Generation of electricity for the first time is just one step in a long journey for the MeyGen project. Earlier work at the site has seen subsea cables laid, foundation ballast block installation ready for the installation of the turbines in the latter half of this year.
MeyGen is set to be the largest tidal array farm in the world, its first stage has been funded through a combination of debt, equity and grants from Atlantis the majority owner of the scheme, as well as Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Crown Estate and the former Department for Energy and Climate Change. A total of £51.3 million has been raised for the first stage of development.
The company’s CEO Tim Cornelius said:
“This is the moment we have been working towards since we first identified the MeyGen site back in 2007.
“I am immensely proud of and grateful for the remarkable team of people who have contributed to this milestone – our suppliers, our funders, our supportive shareholders, and of course the project team, whose commitment, tenacity and belief have been without equal.
“I look forward to bringing more news of the project development over the coming weeks and months as we move into the full operational phase.”
The remaining three turbines, another two Andrizt machines and one built by Atlantis, will be installed over the coming weeks. Atlantis have also revealed that one of the turbines is to be named “the Calum Davidson” in honour of Calum Davidson for his contribution to the marine power sector. Davidson is Director of Energy and Low Carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a member of the Scottish First Minister’s Energy Advisory Board and has worked tirelessly over the last decade to bring the marine renewables sector to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
“This project would not exist without Calum,” Cornelius said. “We faced many problems along the path to financial close: finance, licenses, leases, grid and so on. Every time things seemed really bad, I would turn to Calum and he would find a way to make it work. He believes in us and what we are doing. More importantly, he believes in the future of the marine power industry that he has helped create in Scotland. He is one of the reasons why Scotland leads the world in tidal energy development.”