The world’s first large-scale tidal energy farm has launched in Scotland, and has been hailed a significant moment for the renewable energy sector.
The turbine for the ‘MeyGen tidal steam project’ in the Pentland Firth was unveiled outside Iverness in the Scottish Highlands.
The turbine measured about 15 metres tall (49 feet) with blades 16m in diameter, and weighed in at almost 200 tonnes. After the ceremony, the turbine will begin its journey to the project’s site in the waters, off the coast of Scotland between Caithness and Orkney.
Amongst the attendees for the launch ceremony is Nicola Sturgeon, which is no surprise given the country’s recent 2020 renewable targets.
Scotland has set a target of generating 40% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, but have said this should not be regarded as a cap. The renewable economy plan consists of a number of targets, including:
· 100% electricity demand equivalent from renewables by 2020.
· Interim target of 50% electricity demand equivalent from renewables by 2015.
· 500MW community and locally-owned renewables energy.
The project has received £23m in Scottish government funding. Sturgeon stated “I am incredibly proud of Scotland’s role in leading the way in tacking climate change – and investment in marine renewables is a hugely important part of this.”
Antlantis Resources, Edinburgh-based developer, hopes the project will eventually have 269 turbines – bringing its capacity to 398Mw. This is enough electricity to power 175,000 homes! Chief executive, Tim Cornelius, said “today marks a historic milestone not just for Atlantis and our partners, but for the entire global tidal power industry,” “this is an industry that is creating jobs and Scotland is the undisputed world leader of this high growth sector.”
Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of lobby group RenewableUK, claims the MeyGen project is a “major step forward in terms of scale” and provides a “great boost in maintaining Britain’s pole position” in the renewables sector.
“New technology like this will be powering our nation for decades to come.”
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