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WATCH: Tidal power pioneered in Pentland Firth is installed in Japanese waters

By Gordon Calder

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The AR500 Tidal Turbine waiting in the Goto Islands.
The AR500 Tidal Turbine waiting in the Goto Islands.

THE company behind the MeyGen tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth has achieved "a huge milestone" after installing a turbine in Japan.

According to Simec Atlantis Energy (SAE), the equipment – based on the Caithness model – has produced 10 megawatt hours of electricity in its first 10 days of operation.

The turbine is based on the AR1500 model which is one of the four tidal arrays in operation at the MeyGen site in the Inner Sound and was built at Nigg in Ross-shire. It was assembled and tested in nine weeks before being shipped to Japan.

The project included leasing tidal generation equipment and providing offshore construction services to Kyuden Mirai Energy (KME) for a pilot turbine located in the straits of Naru Island, within the southern Japanese Goto island chain.

Offshore construction of the tidal generation equipment took just five days to complete, beginning with the laying of the cable, landing of the foundation structure and ballast to the sea floor, connection of the cable and the installation of the turbine to the foundation.

SAE chief executive Graham Reid said: "We are proud of our team, who worked efficiently and most of all safely during a worldwide pandemic, to bring tidal stream energy to Japan.

"Throughout the project we have also received great support from our strategic partner, KME, which was supported by a consortium of local and international stakeholders. I would also like to recognise the work of the Scottish Government which continues to support and champion the tidal industry and maximise the benefits to Scotland.

"This is a huge milestone for the deployment of clean, renewable energy from tidal stream and we hope it will be the first of many tidal turbines installed in Japan.”

Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: "For over 10 years the Scottish Government has championed the development and deployment of marine energy. We have worked extensively to support the research, development, innovation and demonstration that has made Scotland a global leader in both tidal and wave technology, with several world firsts and initiatives having been progressed in Scotland’s waters.

"I would like to congratulate Simec Atlantis Energy on achieving this significant milestone for the company and also for the workers at Nigg Energy Park who built the turbine which is now successfully generating clean, green electricity in Japan.

"Both the company and the team at Nigg have demonstrated the huge potential for Scotland’s marine energy and the key role it will play in decarbonising our energy both at home and – as demonstrated by this turbine’s successful deployment in Japan – across the world and I look forward to Scotland’s marine energy potential having a further shop window to the international community when delegates gather in Glasgow for COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, later this year."

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