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MeyGen producing record amount of energy from Pentland Firth

By Gordon Calder

THE MeyGen tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth has produced enough electricity so far this year to meet the annual consumption needs of 2200 UK homes.

In total, the pioneering renewable scheme in the Inner Sound has exported 17.5 GWh (gigawatt hours) of electricity to the national grid, eclipsing the previous record of around 11 GWh, according to Simec Atlantis Energy, the company behind the MeyGen initiative.

MeyGen is producing increasing amounts of electricity from the Pentland Firth.
MeyGen is producing increasing amounts of electricity from the Pentland Firth.

Chief executive Tim Cornelius said the performance this year represents the longest period of uninterrupted generation from a multi-megawatt tidal turbine array ever achieved.

He also stressed that phase 1A of the MeyGen project has generated £1.85 million this calendar year.

Mr Cornelius explained that MeyGen has successfully registered for the Contract for Difference programme – it encourages investment in renewable energy by providing developers of projects with high costs with protection from volatile wholesale prices – and is assessing bidding strategies for the next stage of the development.

He said: "We are delighted to report the continued strong performance of the turbines at MeyGen. Uninterrupted production generates large volumes of valuable performance data which can be used to improve performance, optimise future system design and provide confidence to project financiers who will be called upon to fund our plans to expand this world-renowned project.

"Future phases will use the new AR2000 turbine we are proudly developing with GE and our new subsea hub which will further reduce costs and enhance efficiency."

Mr Cornelius added: "The MeyGen team is working on several initiatives to increase the installed capacity of the project so we can exploit fully the seabed lease. Full build-out – which would produce 398 megawatts of electricity – would represent a capacity which is 50 per cent higher than Dounreay."

The MeyGen project is the world's largest multi-megawatt tidal stream array.

As previously reported, Simec Atlantis Energy confirmed it is going ahead with phase 1B – Project Stroma. The multimillion-pound scheme involves the installation of a new subsea cable hub on the sea floor plus two new Atlantis AR2000 two-megawatt turbines.

The preparatory sea-floor surveys are taking place prior to the installation of the hub which will link the two new turbines to a single protected cable laid on the seabed to the onshore reception building at Ness of Quoys, about a mile east of Gills harbour.

Simec Atlantis expects offshore construction work on the hub and support structures for the turbines to start in October or November, with electricity being generated towards the end of 2020.

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