Tidal energy doesn’t get a lot of press, but this story is about a huge tidal energy farm — the world’s largest stream tidal energy farm when it is completed.
In January, construction of a 400 MW tidal energy project will begin in northeast Scotland. Yes, you read that correctly, 400 MW or enough to power almost 175,000 homes. (Most marine energy projects don’t have this capacity.) When it is completed the tidal farm will have 269 sunken turbines of 1.5 MW. The first phase will have 60 and will be completed by 2020 and will have a capacity of about 90 MW.
A statement about its progress was issued recently. “Atlantis, majority owner of the world’s largest planned tidal stream energy project, MeyGen, announces that its flagship project has achieved another significant funding milestone, successfully completing all conditions required to initiate its first drawdown from its senior project finance providers, The Crown Estate and Scottish Enterprise through the Renewable Energy Investment Fund.”
Scotland has about 25% of Europe’s tidal potential and an estimated 10% of its wave potential.
The world’s first commercial-scale leasing round for marine energy is owned by the Scottish Crown, and is at Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. 1.6 GW of marine project leases have been awarded there by the Crown Estate. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all 1.6 GW of marine energy potential will be developed and generate electricity. If it did, about 750,000 homes could be powered by the projects.
This is mostly mentioned to demonstrate that marine energy in some areas of the world is not trivial, though it may be perceived that way.
Investing in renewable energy is obviously better for the environment, but it also has created about 11,000 jobs in Scotland. Another obvious point is that these jobs are not typically going to be as hazardous as working in the oil and coal industries.
The Scottish government wants Scotland to generate 100% of gross yearly electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020.