Marine Current Turbines and its project partner RWE npower renewables hosted an exhibition about its plans to harness the power of the tidal waters off the north-west coast of Anglesey to generate electricity for up to 20% of the Island. The exhibition, held at Holyhead Town Hall (August 23rd & 24th) attracted nearly 200 visitors including Albert Owen, Anglesey’s MP and county councillors.
The exhibition was an opportunity for people to learn more about the proposed project, which was first announced in February 2008, in advance of a planning application being submitted for the offshore elements (the tidal turbines and the subsea cables) of the scheme to the Welsh Assembly Government. The application for offshore consent is likely to be submitted in September.
The proposed tidal energy scheme, which has benefited from funding from the Welsh European Funding Office, will consist of up to 9 turbines to be located between the Skerries group of rocks and islands and Carmel Head about 1Km off the Anglesey coast.
The 10MW tidal farm, named Skerries Tidal Stream Array, will use Marine Current Turbines’ proven and award-winning SeaGen tidal energy technology to generate enough power to supply electricity to up to 10,000 homes – approximately 20% of Anglesey’s electricity demand. The tidal array can make a significant contribution to Anglesey’s vision to establish itself as a world renowned centre of excellence for demonstrating, producing and servicing low carbon energy as part of the Energy Island Programme.
Subject to securing planning and financing for the project, Marine Current Turbines (MCT) and RWE npower renewables are targeting 2013/2014 for the start of commissioning. The estimated cost of the project is £70million.
For the past 36 months, the project team has been carrying out a series of environmental, engineering and technical studies to examine the suitability of the Skerries site and to assess the potential impact of the tidal farm on marine life and users of the sea.
The team has consulted a range of organisations about its plans, including Isle of Anglesey/Ynys Mon County Council, the Countryside Council for Wales, RSPB, Trinity House, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences, and spoken with a number of recreational groups that use the area including sailing, kayaking, diving and fishing groups. The exhibition provided an opportunity for the project team to explain its plans to the wider community.
In the development of its plans for the Skerries, the company has drawn upon the experience of MCT’s tidal project in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. The single SeaGen tidal turbine has been generating power into the local grid since 2008 and as part of its licence conditions to operate is subject to a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme.
Commenting on the plans for the Skerries tidal farm, Albert Owen MP said: “I welcome all forms of renewable energy and was pleased that people took the opportunity to look at this technology and the future that Anglesey has in tidal power.”
Joseph Kidd, Development Manager at MCT said: “We consider the Skerries stretch of water to be an ideal site for a small tidal farm and we were keen to hear people’s views before we finalise the planning application. The exhibition was also an opportunity for people to learn more about the advantages of tidal power and how our scheme can benefit the Anglesey economy. The scheme will not only generate clean energy but also give local firms the chance to be involved in the tidal farm’s installation and operation.”
The Skerries tidal farm is being taken forward by Marine Current Turbines and RWE npower renewables via a project development company set up specifically: SeaGeneration Wales Ltd.
This press release can be viewed in full at the Marine Current Turbines website here.