RenewableUK is hailing the announcement that funding has been secured to build the first phase of the world’s largest tidal energy array in the Pentland Firth region in North Scotland.
The MeyGen project has a capacity of up to 398MW and will provide clean electricity for 175,000 homes and 100 jobs in the area upon completion. The first phase of the MeyGen project alone will almost double the tidal energy capacity installed in UK waters today.
The £51m needed for the 6MW first phase of the project will be partly funded by a £10m grant from the UK Government, with major funding initiatives also coming from Atlantis Resources Limited, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Crown Estate.
The site lies in an area with one of the highest tidal resources in the UK and will greatly advance the operating experience needed to run tidal energy on a greater scale. Construction on the first four turbines is expected to begin later this year with electricity being provided to the grid by 2016.
Tidal stream energy will play an important role in meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets, as well as providing domestic power, reducing the UK’s growing dependency on energy imports.
RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said: “This is a great day for the industry and a major step forward in bringing commercial tidal projects online. We have moved one step closer to seeing tidal energy fulfil 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.”
Press Release, August 22, 2014