£7.5m contract for tidal energy at Pentland Firth

A TIDAL energy scheme which secured a £50 million funding package last week is already being expanded after its developer won a £7.5m contract.

Four seabed turbines will be installed in the Pentland Firth during the first phase of the MeyGen project. Picture: Contributed
Four seabed turbines will be installed in the Pentland Firth during the first phase of the MeyGen project. Picture: Contributed

Atlantis Resources is installing four seabed turbines in the first phase of its MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth, which is due to begin construction later this year.

A deal announced with the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) yesterday will see Atlantis construct a further two turbines.

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Under the contract, two Atlantis-owned 1.5 megawatt (MW) commercial tidal energy turbines will be installed on a foundation structure designed and built as part of project funded by the ETI, a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies and the UK government.

Tim Cornelius, the chief 
executive of Atlantis, said the deal would enable the firm to expand the scale of commercial marine energy generation in 
the UK.

“The ETI-funded technologies to be designed and built as part of this project have the potential to substantially reduce the cost of energy of installed commercial turbines, improving the economics of tidal energy as part of the UK’s energy mix,” he said.

Jonathan Wills, director of programme delivery at the ETI, said the project should “further enhance industry and investor confidence in tidal energy and help to unlock its potential as a serious contributor to future energy systems”.

Last week, Atlantis said it has secured more than £50m in funding, including £17.2m from the Scottish Government, to progress construction of the MeyGen project. Other backers include Department of Energy & Climate Change, the Crown Estate, Scottish Enterprise via the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF),and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The finance package includes a combination of equity, debt and grants, and 60 per cent of the project cost will be invested in the UK supply chain. Significant project supply chain partners will include ABB, Andritz Hydro Hammerfest, Global Energy Group and James Fisher.

When fully completed, the MeyGen project will have the potential to provide clean power for 175,000 homes in Scotland, support more than 100 jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and deliver long-term supply chain benefits for UK economy.

Work on the first phase of the development, which could include up to 61 turbines and is expected to provide enough electricity for 42,000 homes, will begin later this year. The first electricity is expected to be delivered to the grid by 2016.

As the first large-scale tidal project of its type in the world to successfully reach a funding agreement, the MeyGen project will be a catalyst for the global tidal power market, signalling the transition of the industry from demonstration projects to commercial arrays.

Shares in Atlantis Resources rose by just over 9 per cent, or 4.5p, to close at 54p.