The owner of a Scottish tidal stream energy project has secured a 398MW, 25-year seabed lease from the Crown Estate, which owns the seabed, for the project.
Atlantis owns the MeyGen project, which earlier this month secured major funding packages, allowing work to start on the first phase of the project in Q4 this year.
The MeyGen project will be built in Scotland's Pentland Firth, which seperates mainland Scotland from Stroma Island, and, when completed, will have 269 turbines generating enough power for 200,000 homes. First power is expected form the first phase of the project in H1 2016.
The first phase of the project, called Phase 1a, will consist of four 1.5MW turbines and the construction of the onshore infrastructure needed to support the project.
The initial array will provide information on the interactions between the array and the environment and increase the understanding for subsequent phases. The lease was secured after MeyGen satisfied the extensive development obligations contained within its five-year Agreement for Lease, signed in October 2010. The least is the largest marine energy lease to be awarded by the Crown Estate and is the first in The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters region, Scotland.
Atlantis recently announced that it had secured a £50 million funding package for Phase 1a. Construction is expected to start in Q4 2014.
MeyGen will use multiple tidal turbine suppliers, specifically, Atlantis Resources Corporation's AR1000 and Andtritz Hydro Hammerfest's HS1000. The array is being designed so that other devices could also be incorporated.
Each Phase 1 turbine will have its own dedicated export shore to shore. Cables will be brought to shore via horizontal directional drilled bores through the bedrock. Cables will be brought to shore and terminated in the power conversion centre (PCC). At the PCC the electricity is transformed up to higher voltages for export to the national grid. All onshore cables will be buried.
Dan Pearson, MeyGen's CEO, says: “Signing the Lease with the Crown Estate is a significant achievement being the first of its kind and demonstrates how a commercial scale energy project can be designed, consented, engineered and funded within four years. This is the culmination of a talented and committed team working alongside stakeholders and governments who are determined to launch a new energy sector within Scotland and the UK. We are thankful to all who have helped us along the journey and look forward to delivering the first phase.”
The UK Government says the UK has about 50% of Europe's tidal energy resource and that it could meet meet 20% of the UK’s electricity demand.
Renewable energy generation is expected to play a major role in replacing one-fifth of the UK’s aging coal and gas fired power plants which are due to be brought off-line by 2020, the government adds.