The world’s largest tidal-stream array ran for the whole of 2019, the longest ever period of uninterrupted generation from a multi-megawatt tidal turbine installation.
The MeyGen array, between the northern coast of mainland Scotland and the island of Stroma, exported energy equivalent to the annual consumption of about 3,800 UK homes in 2019. The Simec Atlantis project has now sent 24.7GWh of electricity to the grid.
The array uses horizontal-axis turbines fixed to the seafloor in the fast-flowing tidal stream.
Atlantis plans to add 80MW extra capacity, with new AR2000 turbines developed with GE. The AR2000 will rise 25m above the seabed, with a 20m rotor diameter spinning at up to 3.1m/s. It will weigh 150 tonnes and the rotor will rotate at 6-14 rpm.
The operator is also planning the "world’s first ocean-powered data centre", connected to the array by a private wire. A connection to the Celtic Norse subsea fibre-optic cable could "significantly enhance" Scotland’s international data activity, the company claimed.
“Not only is this world-renowned project helping the UK meet its ‘net-zero’ ambitions, but it is also providing valuable performance data which can be used to inform future projects, demonstrating MeyGen’s importance as a global prototype,” said Atlantis CEO Tim Cornelius.