The green light has been given today (August 21) to kick off the first phase of the MeyGen project - the world’s largest tidal power development which will be installed in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is backing the project with a £3.3m grant. MeyGen has announced that terms have been agreed for a funding package of £50m and this means construction of the first phase will now begin.
Calum Davidson, HIE Director of Energy and Low Carbon commented: “This is a hugely significant day for the marine renewables sector in the Highlands and Islands. After 11 years of testing and prototyping individual tidal devices in Scottish waters, the MeyGen project is a huge step in moving the industry towards commercial electricity production.
“The marine renewables developments in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters have truly put this region on the global marine renewables map. With the expertise developed by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney over the last ten years, we now have internationally recognised expertise on our doorstep to develop the industry here.”
The first phase of the project will see four turbines installed in the next two years, rising to 61 turbines by 2020. It is expected that it will produce enough power for approximately 42,000 homes in Scotland.
Mr Davidson continued: “The Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth has first class tidal resources, appropriate current speeds and crucially the site has good access to the grid. In addition, the water depth in the area suits the extent of the project.
“HIE is looking forward to working with MeyGen as the final plans come to fruition for the roll out of the first phase. It is an exciting time for the local economy in Caithness where businesses in the area will have opportunities to support the project.”