Energy futureWorld’s first commercial-scale tidal stream

Published 13 February 2008

The tidal farm scheme would be capable of generating 10.5 MW of power drawn entirely from the sea’s major tidal currents; project will be built off the north-west coast of Anglesey, north Wales

Swindon, Wiltshire, U.K.-based npower renewables and Bristol-based tidal power developers Marine Current Turbines (MCT) are to help deliver one of the world’s first commercial-scale tidal stream projects, off the coast of Anglesey, north Wales. The tidal farm scheme would be capable of generating 10.5 MW of power drawn entirely from the sea’s major tidal currents. npower renewables and Marine Current Turbines will take forward the project through a newly created development company, SeaGen Wales.

It is proposed that the tidal stream project be sited in an area of twenty-five meter deep open sea known as the Skerries, off the north west coast of Anglesey, north Wales. The scheme will consist of seven 1.5 MW SeaGen turbines, each likely to stand approximately nine meters above sea level. Previous independent scoping studies have identified the Skerries as an ideal location for a tidal stream project, due to its favorable tidal conditions and natural shelter. The location benefits from good port facilities at Holyhead nearby, proximity to the National Grid facilitating good connection, and good transport links and access, to facilitate construction and maintenance.

Development of the site will start with a full assessment and detailed surveys of the environment and tidal resources, followed by preparation of an outline scheme incorporating the studies’ outcomes. Studies are about to get started and will last throughout 2008, with a consent application likely to be submitted in mid-2009. Construction and commissioning timescales will be subject to the length of the planning process, but it is anticipated this could take place between 2011 and 2012. Full consultation will be undertaken with local communities and other relevant stakeholders ahead of any planning application, and all issues raised during the consultation will be fed back into the design process prior to a final consent application.