Marine Current Turbines Ltd (MCT), in partnership with RWE npower renewables, has today submitted a consent application to install a 10MW array of tidal stream turbines off the North West coast of Anglesey in 2015. The array, consisting of seven twin rotor turbines arranged across an area of 0.56km², will harness the power of the tidal waters, generating enough power for over 10,000 homes on the island. It will be the first tidal array to be deployed in Wales.
This tidal farm, using the fast moving and predictable flow of the tides, will use MCT’s proven and award-winning tidal energy technology (known as SeaGen and which works in principle like an underwater windmill) to generate enough power to supply electricity to up to 10,000 homes. The array will be situated between the Skerries islands and Carmel Head, about 1km off the Anglesey coast. SeaGen is a proven technology, the first 1.2MW unit having been successfully operated in Strangford Narrows, Northern Ireland since 2008, and it is officially accredited by OFGEM as the UK’s first and only tidal current power plant.
If the planning consent is granted to SeaGeneration Wales Ltd, the MCT / RWE npower renewables project company, it will be the first tidal array in Wales demonstrating the commercial viability of this technology. This project will help to demonstrate that the deployment of tidal generation can be recognised as a viable means of securing renewable generation, lower carbon emissions whilst simultaneously creating a new industry and many jobs.
The project will cost approximately £70 million to develop and, where possible, local businesses will be contracted for the assembly, installation, operation and maintenance of the tidal array. It will generate jobs that use skills ranging from advanced blacksmithing through to sophisticated control systems management. The project will also stimulate the supply chain to support the emerging marine renewable energy sector in the UK and Wales.Martin Wright, CEO and founder of MCT said: “Tidal power is a predictable and reliable source of renewable energy and our technology can play an important part in helping Wales realise its renewable energy targets as set out in the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) Energy Policy statement. It aims to capture 10% of the tidal stream and wave energy off the Welsh coast by 2025, making Wales a UK low carbon economic area for tidal energy. The proposed project would represent a significant step in meeting both of these targets and furthermore, will see the creation of many new green jobs.”
MCT has undertaken a series of environmental and technical studies and consulted a range of local residents as well as local and national organisations, including: RSBP, Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency in order to consider the impact of the project over its operational lifespan, about 25 years.Joseph Kidd, MCT’s Development Manager for the project, said: “Engagement with local interests is an important part of our work, particularly local marine recreation groups and so far the response to our plans has been generally positive. Our experience of working in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough has been hugely valuable in taking forward our plans for Anglesey.”
RWE Npower Renewables’ Project Manager, Paul Catterall said: “RWE npower renewables are delighted to have been involved in the development of this project, which exemplifies one of the most promising of the emerging renewable energy technologies. Tidal energy has the potential to play a significant role in our future renewables portfolio. SeaGen represents the end result of many years of hard work, perseverance and human ingenuity, and we are privileged to be working with MCT, global leaders in tidal generation.”
Further information about this announcement can be found on the Marine Current Turbines website here.