First minister celebrates as Scotland becomes home to world’s first large scale tidal stream farm

Nathanael Williams

Sturgeon visits MeyGen project as first phase signals governments plans to focus on tidal power 

SCOTLAND will become the location of the world’s first ever large-scale tidal stream farm as the MeyGen project owned by Atlantis Resources Ltd is launched today (12 September).

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will visit the project which is in its first phase and will see its first turbines in the planned tidal stream array turned on.

The development was completed with a £23m grant by the Scottish Government and, along with Atlantis’ other project called the Sound of Islay, will generate up to £275m for the Scottish economy.

"I am incredibly proud of Scotland’s role in leading the way in tackling climate change and investment in marine renewables is a hugely important part of this." Nicola Sturgeon 

The First Minister said: "I am incredibly proud of Scotland’s role in leading the way in tackling climate change and investment in marine renewables is a hugely important part of this.

"MeyGen is set to invigorate the marine renewables industry in Scotland and provide vital jobs for a skilled workforce, retaining valuable offshore expertise here in Scotland that would otherwise be lost overseas.

"Highly skilled operation and maintenance jobs will also need to be carried out locally, providing strong local employment opportunity for rural areas.

"There is no doubt that the eyes of the world are on this project which is why the Scottish Government’s investment is so crucially important.

"But it is absolutely vital that the UK Government honours its earlier commitment to provide a ring-fenced allocation for marine energy in its renewables support scheme. They must tackle the current uncertainty that exists before they cause irreparable damage to the long term prospects for the sector."

The development will generate up to £275m for the Scottish economy.

Conceived in 2006, the MeyGen project location is in the inner sound of the Pentland Firth, the body of water that separates the north Scottish mainland from Stroma island.

Today’s announcement (12 September) is the latest in a string of events which have seen commercial success for tidal power as the Scottish Government moves to present itself as a leader of renewable research on a European and world level. 

Scotland is set to gain significant benefits from renewable energy with Scottish Renewables, the industry's trade body, reporting in 2014 that Scotland’s wave and tidal energy sector was worth more than £217m.

CommonSpace additionally covered the launch of the world's first grid connected tidal array in Shetland as well as the recently announced plan by governmental bodies of Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland to pool research and training on ocean technology.

Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Atlantis Resources, said: "Today marks a historic milestone not just for Atlantis and our project partners, but for the entire global tidal power industry.

"It gives me enormous pride to have reached this juncture after 10 years of tireless work, preparation and planning by everyone associated with this project.

"This is the day the tidal power industry announced itself as the most exciting new asset class of renewable, sustainable generation in the UK’s future energy mix. This is an industry that is creating jobs and Scotland is the undisputed world leader of this high growth sector."

"Scotland has 25 per cent of the EU’s offshore wind and tidal power potential." Fabrice Leveque

Commenting on Scotland's latest marine renewables success story today Fabrice Leveque, climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: "It's great that Scotland is now home to the world's first ever large-scale tidal stream farm.  It comes hot on the heels of Shetland tidal devices exporting power to the national grid for the first time and the testing of the world's most powerful tidal turbine off Orkney.  

"This underlines what we already know, that Scotland has 25 per cent of the EU’s offshore wind and tidal power potential.

"Alongside measures to improve energy efficiency, marine renewables have the potential to play a significant role in powering our homes and businesses in the future.

"If we are to secure such a future it's important that the Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy sets an ambition to secure at least half of our heat, transport and electricity needs from renewables by 2030. Such an ambition will ensure that Scotland maximises the benefits from a transition to a zero-carbon economy."

Picture courtesy of Atlantis

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