by Mary-Catherine Riley
Atlantis Resources partnered with Lockend Wind Energy to spearhead the world’s largest grid connection of any commercial tidal project (https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2016/11/meygen-tidal-power-project-poised-to-feed-scottish-highland-electricity-grid/). This initiative is thought to be the first combination of electricity to power an existing grid. Currently, MeyGen is in the first phase of construction, installing 86 turbines to generate 86 megawatts (MW). However, the project has room for growth. Atlantis hopes to expand the facility’s capability to power 175,000 homes using 269 turbines producing almost 400 MW (3,4). The glaring downside is the cost. Funds for the first stage of the MeyGen project are £51million ($82m) (http://www.meygen.com/the-project/meygen-news/). Moreover, while the power of strong currents in the Pentland Firth in northern Scotland makes it an ideal location for tidal generation, the area’s harsh storm and wave conditions could destroy the turbines. Lastly, the grid connection is limited until further expansion occurs in future years due to limited grid capacity.
However, this project serves as a great positive for the future of energy. This intermittent use of wind and water energy could eliminate the need to employ nuclear or coal power plants while still reaching maximum energy capacity. Moreover, European environmental corporations predict that Scotland has 25% of the European Union’s offshore tidal and wind energy potential, so this expansion begins to actualize this potential source of energy. This project is essential in testing how reliable and effective a commercial scale water turbine farm is to power a grid (https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2016/11/meygen-tidal-power-project-poised-to-feed-scottish-highland-electricity-grid/). Moreover, MeyGen is dedicated to boost the local economy by providing highly skilled technical and labor jobs to retain the Scottish workforce. Moreover, this project contributes to the European Union’s larger goal of saving 20% of the projected consumption of energy in 2020 in 2020 (https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency).
“Energy Efficiency – Energy – European Commission.” Energy. European Commission, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.
“Spring 2016 Project Update.” MeyGen. MeyGen Limited, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.
Thomson, Corrina. “MeyGen Tidal Power Project Poised to Feed Scottish Highland Electricity Grid.” Engineering and Technology. The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 08 Nov. 2016. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.