An initial four turbines will be deployed as a demonstration phase of the Pentland Firth Inner Sound tidal energy project. It is being developed by MeyGen Ltd, a joint venture between investment bank Morgan Stanley (45%), French-owned power generator International Power (45%) and tidal technology firm Atlantis Resources Corporation (10%).
The £51m project has been given £10m worth of grant funding from the UK government, £17.2m by the Scottish government’s renewable energy investment fund (REIF) and £3.3m from Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE). This is for the demonstration phase only.
When fully operational, the 86MW array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 42,000 homes – around 40% of homes in the Highlands.
MeyGen won the rights to the scheme from the Crown Estate in 2010 with a 25-year operating lease.
HIE director of energy Calum Davidson said: “The MeyGen project is the first commercial scale tidal stream array to be developed and built out. HIE is delighted by today’s announcement as it gives a strong green light to the start of the construction phase of the project. It is a huge boost to the Highlands & Islands which is being rightly recognised as a global centre for marine renewables. We have world class wave and tidal conditions here, as well as expertise across the engineering and marine supply chain supported by a skilled and dedicated workforce.”