Atlantis Tidal’s MeyGen project site in the Pentland Firth, Scotland, successfully produced power for the first time this week. When fully completed, the project is set to be the world’s largest free stream tidal power project.
The turbine, supplied by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest, was successfully installed last week and plugged into the pre-laid cable which connects back to the onshore control centre and grid export point, which has already been commissioned and energised.
Both the turbine and cable installation works were completed by James Fisher Marine Services Limited, using the Olympic Ares. The turbine installation followed a successful offshore campaign in October during which GeoSea NV installed all four foundation structures using its jack-up vessel, the Neptune.
Over the past few days, AHH has been working to establish communications with the turbine and verify that the on-board safety and monitoring systems are operational. Now, working with ABB Limited as the suppliers of the onshore frequency converters, the AHH team has begun the process of powering up the turbine to tune the control system for optimised generation. During this programme, the project is exporting electricity for the first time, using only the tidally driven water flows which rush through the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth. This follows an extensive onshore turbine testing and commissioning regime prior to final deployment.
This turbine is the first of four 1.5MW tidal stream turbines to become operational at the site for the first 6MW phase of a total build out of almost 400MW. Construction for the next 6MW phase, which benefits from a €17 million grant from the EC’s NER300 fund, is due to commence next year. When completed, the MeyGen project will consist of 269 turbines and generate 398MW.
Atlantis is the indirect majority owner of the MeyGen project through its 92% shareholding in Tidal Power Scotland Limited, which owns 83.5% of MeyGen Limited alongside Scottish Enterprise (16.5%). The first phase of the MeyGen project has been funded through a combination of debt, equity and grants from Atlantis, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Crown Estate and the former Department for Energy and Climate Change.
Atlantis chief executive Tim Cornelius said: “This is the moment we have been working towards since we first identified the MeyGen site back in 2007… 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. It’s especially exciting to be making this announcement on the morning after the first “super moon” in 68 years – last night, those of us with clear skies were able to get a good view of the powerhouse behind tidal energy, and be reminded that even in times like these there are still predictions we can rely on.”
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