Scotland: Home of the world’s first tidal farm

Scotland: Home of the world’s first tidal farm

Recently we discussed the first ever export of power to the grid via a tidal turbine in at Bluemill Sound in the Shetland Isles and in a short space of time we have moved on again as this week the world’s first large scale tidal energy farm was launched in the Pentland Firth, north of Inverness.

At a ceremony in Inverness attended by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon the first 15m tall turbine for the MeyGen tidal stream project were unveiled. With a blade length of 16m diameter it is the first of four turbines to be installed with each able to generate 1.5MW. The project however is expected to expand with a potential 269 turbines able to connect to the array generating electricity to power 175,000 homes.

Speaking at the event Miss Sturgeon said “I am incredibly proud of Scotland’s role in leading the way in tackling climate change and investment in marine renewables is a hugely important part of this.

“MeyGen is set to invigorate the marine renewables industry in Scotland and provide vital jobs for a skilled workforce, retaining valuable offshore expertise here in Scotland that would otherwise be lost overseas.”

Maf Smith, the deputy chief executive RenewableUK, said “New technology like this will be powering our nation for decades to come.

“The fact that the first turbine was assembled at what was an oil and gas fabrication yard illustrates the opportunities offered by renewables.

“The official launch of the largest tidal stream energy project in the world marks a significant moment in the commercial development of marine power.”

Tim Cornelius, the chief executive of Atlantis Resources, said “Today marks a historic milestone not just for Atlantis and our project partners, but for the entire global tidal power industry.

“It gives me enormous pride to have reached this juncture after 10 years of tireless work, preparation and planning by everyone associated with this project. This is the day the tidal power industry announced itself as the most exciting new asset class of renewable, sustainable generation in the UK’s future energy mix.

“This is an industry that is creating jobs and Scotland is the undisputed world leader of this high growth sector.”

Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy for Scottish Renewables, said “Scotland has been at the forefront of tidal energy innovation for many years, from design to testing, and now – with the MeyGen project – deployment.

“Our waters have the lion’s share of the UK’s tidal stream resources, so it makes perfect sense that we utilise that advantage by installing devices like those developed by Atlantis.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation ‘switch on’ its second turbine at Bluemull Sound off Shetland and, in Orkney, Scotrenewables announced it had begun testing its SR2000 device at the European Marine Energy Centre.

“This kind of activity has led to the marine energy sector investing well over £200 million in the Scottish economy – with every £1 from public sector funds leveraging £7 from the private sector – and creating around 1,000 jobs in Scotland, with the potential to grow substantially.

“Today’s announcement from Atlantis reinforces the potential of tidal generation to make a significant contribution to the UK’s growing need for clean electricity, and to deliver further investment and jobs to the UK.

“However, this is still an incredibly young technology, and future development is absolutely dependent on continued support from Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels, who have all played a vitally important part in the growth of the sector to date.”

Fabrice Leveque, the climate and energy policy officer at the environmental body WWF Scotland, said “It’s great that Scotland is now home to the world’s first large-scale tidal stream farm. It comes hot on the heels of Shetland tidal devices exporting power to the National Grid for the first time and the testing of the world’s most powerful tidal turbine off Orkney.

“This underlines what we already know, that Scotland has 25% of the EU’s offshore wind and tidal power potential.”

It is exceptional that Scotland is once again leading the way in renewable energy generation. Despite being a relatively small country with a low population and a UK central government which is no longer pro-renewables we continue to push boundaries forward and break new ground in the search of new, better, more reliable energy sources.

It is something we should all be proud of as our combined efforts are helping us achieve carbon emission reductions, long term renewable energy generation, and safer cleaner environment that will benefit us all.

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