Funding for the world largest tidal stream energy project has secured the funding needed to begin construction in Scotland.
The MeyGen project, which plans to build a 398MW tidal array in the Pentland Firth, has raised the £51m needed for the 6MW first stage of the project, including a £10m grant from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (Decc).
The funds, announced yesterdat, will pay for the installation of four 1.5MW turbines offshore as well as the construction of the onshore infrastructure required to support the project, including the onshore power conversion centre and grid connection.
When fully completed the project, which is owned by tidal power company Atlantis Resources, will include up to 269 turbines submerged on the seabed, generating enough energy for 175,000 homes and supporting more than 100 jobs.
Atlantis CEO and MeyGen director Tim Cornelius said: “Today, we are witnessing the transformation of a sector. MeyGen is one of the most exciting and innovative renewable energy developments in the world, marking the long-awaited arrival of tidal stream generation as a serious, large-scale player in global energy markets.
“I am proud that Atlantis will become the first company to successfully develop a project of this kind, at this size, making Atlantis the first independent power producer from a tidal array.”
Construction is expected to begin later this year, with the first electricity anticipated to be delivered to the grid by 2016.
Phase 1 of the project will eventually see 61 turbines installed – capable of generating 86MW – creating roughly 50 direct jobs, with a further 70 indirect roles created throughout the supply chain.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “This innovative and exciting project puts Scotland and the UK on the map as a global leader in marine technology – meaning jobs, better energy security and the potential to export this technology to the world.
“The project also shows what can be done when the UK and Scottish governments work together to provide a lasting benefit for the people of Scotland. Meygen will be the biggest tidal stream array in the world, providing enough electricity for 175,000 homes and 100 ‘green jobs’ when completed.
“Wave and tidal power have the potential to provide more than 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs, and Meygen could pave the way for future projects in the Pentland Firth.”
Decc estimates that the UK has roughly 50 per cent of Europe’s tidal energy resource and that this could meet 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand as ageing coal and gas power stations go off line.
Fergus Ewing MSP, Scottish Energy Minister said: “Our ambition for Scotland’s emerging wave and tidal sectors remains great. The Pentland Firth development takes our ambition to the next level and further cements Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in deploying renewables technology.
“We know that the successful harnessing of ocean power takes hard work and persistence which is why we are determined to support those in the industry. By developing clean, green energy we are creating opportunities for communities in the north of Scotland and delivering jobs and investment.”