Construction of the world’s largest tidal energy plant looks set to begin next month in Scotland, after the project’s majority owners – the Australian-founded and managed company, Atlantis Resources – got the go-ahead to start drawing on government grant money.
Atlantis said last week that its flagship MeyGen project had met all the conditions required to start drawing down finance through the UK’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund.
The huge tidal energy plant will comprise 269 turbines, installed on the seabed at Ness of Quoys in Caithness, north-east Scotland. It will have the potential to power nearly 175,000 homes and a total capacity of almost 400MW once completed.
In August, Atlantis raised around $US83 million towards the tidal project’s construction, to be used to finance the installation of four 1.5MW turbines in Scotland’s Pentland Firth – a small portion of the 86MW planned for the project’s demonstration phase.
In an announcement to investors on Friday, the LSE-listed company said onshore construction at the project site was expected to commence in January 2015, with ABB – the project’s major design and construction contractors – due to start building infrastructure for connection to the electricity transmission grid for power export.
Atlantis expects the first supply of tidal power to be delivered to the national grid in 2016, and to have about 60 turbines installed and delivering power by 2020.
Tim Cornelius, Atlantis CEO, said that Lockheed Martin’s project-specific 1.5MW turbines were scheduled to be delivered on time for construction purposes.
In November, the MeyGen project was awarded the first-ever Navigator Award at the International Conference on Ocean Energy, in recognition of its “significant contribution to global marine renewable industry.”
Atlantis is also working on tidal energy projects off the coast of Canada, where it was recently awarded a feed-in tariff for up to 4.5MW of tidal generation to be deployed at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) in Nova Scotia.