MeyGen now grid connected
The MeyGen tidal energy scheme has passed a major technical milestone and now has a connection to the National Grid.
Atlantis Resources, the company leading the project, has announced that an onshore power conversion centre - built close to the waters of the Pentland Firth - has been connected to the Ness of Quoys distribution network in Caithness.
The aim is to deploy an array of tidal turbines offshore, using technology tested at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.
The first turbines will be installed over the coming months and the project remains on track to deliver first power in the second half of 2016.
Connecting the project to the grid involved the installation of one of the longest underground 33 kilovolt (kV) power export cables in the UK by the network operator, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc.
This required over 25 kilometres of distribution network upgrades, along with infrastructure upgrades at two substations.
Tim Cornelius, chief executive officer of Atlantis, said: "The connection of our flagship MeyGen project to the SHEPD distribution network marks a huge technical major milestone for Atlantis and the tidal stream industry more broadly.
“It has involved years of hard work, persistence, perseverance and determination by our team and all of the contractors and consultants involved in the onshore work scope.
“We believe this is now the world’s largest energised grid connection of any commercial tidal stream array.
“We have made great progress over recent months at MeyGen on turbine and foundation preparation and we very much look forward to delivering first power to the grid later this year, which will be a huge event for our company and the global marine power industry.”
When fully operational, the 400 megawatt (MW) project is expected to generate enough emissions-free electricity to power 175,000 Scottish homes.
Last year, Atlantis announced that four subsea cables had been successfully put in place for the project.
They run from the foreshore on the north coast of Caithness and into the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth. The cables will connect the subsea turbines to the onshore power conversion centre, where the power they generate will be fed into the grid via the new connection.