A tidal energy farm project planned off the Welsh coastline this week got a welcome funding injection of stg£10m from the UK government to help progress the development of a 10MW tidal array that could be up and running by 2015.
This week, the UK’s Climate Change Minister Greg Barker announced that Meygen and Sea Generation Wales have been awarded funding under the stg£20m Marine Energy Array Demonstrator scheme launch last year to help advance the growth of the marine energy industry in the UK.
"This stg£20m will give Meygen and Sea Generation Wales the boost they need to leap to the next level and test their innovative turbines in formations out at sea," said Barker.
Meygen is deploying offshore turbines at an Inner Sound site off the coast of Scotland.
By 2020, Meygen is aiming to deploy up to 398MW of offshore tidal stream turbines to supply renewable electricity to the UK’s electricity grid.
Meanwhile, Sea Generation Wales, a joint venture between Marine Current Turbines, which is part of Siemens, and RWE npower renewables, is planning to build a 10MW tidal array. Situated off the coast of Anglesey in north Wales, the array will consist of five SeaGen tidal stream turbines.
The Welsh government has given its approval to the tidal power project, known as the Skerries Tidal Stream Array, awarding Sea Gen with a marine licence.
"The consent is an important milestone in Wales’ transition to a low-carbon economy and the tidal farm will provide a very positive economic boost to Anglesey and north Wales," said Achim Woerner, CEO of Siemens’ Energy Hydro and Ocean unit.
The aim is for the commercial tidal farm to operational by 2015.
One of these SeaGen turbines has been installed in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland since 2008.
Project area for Skerries Tidal Stream Array. Image via Sea Generation Wales