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New tidal record is a sign of big things to come

Posted by Brychan Williams on 16 July 2019 at 3:20 pm

SIMEC Atlantis a sustainable energy generation company says that its MeyGen tidal turbines have now sent 17.5GWh of renewable electricity to the National Grid, surpassing its previous record of 11GWh. The MeyGen scheme which is situated off the Caithness coast in Scotland involves four tidal turbines which weigh around 200 tonnes each.

The CEO of SIMEC Atlantis Tim Cornelius stated that phase 1A of the MeyGen project has already generated £1.85 million in revenue as well as sent 7GWh to the National Grid this year. This equates to supplying the annual electricity usage of 2,200 homes.

However perhaps the most striking announcement from the company was that the turbines had been operating at 90% of total system availability in Q1 this year and during Q2 it was recorded at almost 98%. This is highly significant breakthrough. One of the major problems with renewables over the years has been to do with issues around intermittency. They have the tendency to be unable to produce electricity consistently at all times of the day. This has meant that traditionally, renewable energy has struggled to adequately assist the UK government with its energy security concerns.

Therefore, the fact that tidal turbines are operating at over 90% of total system availability is highly significant and can be deemed as a great breakthrough for renewable energy generation. 2019 represents the longest period of uninterrupted generation from a multi-megawatt tidal turbine array ever achieved. This breakthrough means that the potential is there with tidal technology to be able to provide the National Grid with a consistent baseload of electricity whilst at the same time helping mitigate the effects of climate change.

The UK has the second largest tidal range in the world after Canada. However, this energy is significantly underutilised. With advancements in the profitability and efficiency of utilising tidal energy, hopefully companies will jump at the opportunity and tidal energy generation will be deployed at a much greater scale across the UK.


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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3 comments - read them below or add one

Jeff B

Jeff BComment left on: 20 July 2019 at 8:03 pm

Brychan - thank you for your response. I knew the scheme had been withdrawn and I must admit I thought that WAG was behind the decision! (They have "form" i.e. the M4 relief road, which seems to be the decision of one man, the first minister, which seems quite bizarre to me, but that's another story!).

Thanks for the link to the Hendry Report. Wow that's quite a tome isn't it?! It will take some time to digest that lot, but basically it seems he is favour of the Swansea Bay scheme. £1.3 billion is a drop in the ocean compared to the now estimated £86 billion for HS2 - we could build a heck of a lot of tidal schemes for that!


report abuse from National Energy FoundationComment left on: 18 July 2019 at 2:47 pm

@Jeff B Unfortunatley it was the UK government that withdrew support for the Swansea Bay tidal project. The scheme had £200 million backing from the Welsh Government.

Have a read of this article from the BBC:

There is still hope that this project may still be given the greenlight. Tidal is certainly an energy source we should be making the most of in the UK and from a personal point of view, I strongly believe we are making a grave error in not supporting and investing in tidal energy. The Hendry review found that there is certainly a strong case to be made for the deployment of several tidal lagoons across the UK.

Have a read of the report if you'd like:

It would be interesting to know your thoughts :)


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Jeff B

Jeff BComment left on: 17 July 2019 at 11:43 pm

The Swansea Bay tidal scheme was rejected by Welsh Government. Good to see that private enterprise has picked up the scheme and hopes to complete within 5 years.

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