Next steps for MeyGen

5 September 2019

A new contract between GE and SIMEC Atlantis Energy paves the way for Project Stroma, the second phase of the MeyGen tidal stream project in Scotland.

GE’s Power Conversion business has been chosen by SIMEC Atlantis Energy Limited as their preferred supplier to deliver the electrical systems that will power what is expected to be the world’s largest tidal stream turbine, part of the MeyGen tidal power development project. The agreement “marks a long-term relationship”, the companies say and “should enable both companies to promote their technologies leading to full-scale array installation that is set to harness marine energy at commercial scale.”

Located in the Pentland Firth, north of Scotland, the MeyGen project is the only commercial multi-turbine tidal stream array to have entered the construction phase. It has been providing power to the UK grid for over a year.

The new contract between GE and SIMEC is intended to advance MeyGen development into its second phase, known as Project Stroma, adding another 6 MW of power generation capacity.

GE’s Power Conversion business will provide the tidal turbine generators and the power converters for conversion and smoothing of the irregular power before transmitting to the grid. GE has already started working with Atlantis on de-risking the overall system.

“There is in total 300 000 gigawatts of untapped tidal energy hidden under the waters — a potential that is simply too
big to be ignored. Breaking through the barriers of innovation within marine power, the pioneering MeyGen project is a prime example of what advanced technology could deliver,” said Azeez Mohammed, CEO of GE’s Power Conversion business.

A July 2019 operational update from SIMEC on MeyGen reported the following highlights: 

  • MeyGen has now exported 17.5 GWh of electricity to the national grid, eclipsing the previous record of approximately 11 GWh.
  • In 2019 alone, MeyGen has exported over 7 GWh of predictable renewable energy to the grid.
  • Phase 1A of MeyGen operates with 5 ROCs and has generated £1.85m of revenue to date this calendar year.
  • Total system availability is approaching 90% for 2019 to date and during Q2 2019 was recorded at almost 98%.
  • 2019 performance represents the longest period of uninterrupted generation from a multi-megawatt tidal turbine array ever achieved.
  • MeyGen has been successfully registered for the 2019 CfD programme and SIMEC management is assessing bidding strategies.
  • SIMEC management is also exploring options to establish private wire PPAs with local industrial loads to facilitate the build out of the array, which has a seabed lease for a total installed capacity of up to 398 MW.

SeaGen decommissioned

Meanwhile, SIMEC has announced the successful decommissioning of the pioneeering SeaGen tidal turbine support structure in Strangford Narrows, Northern Ireland.

This marks the conclusion of the 1.2 MW SeaGen tidal stream energy project lifecycle and is the first commercial scale tidal turbine development to be fully decommissioned.

Specialist UK-based marine business Keynvor MorLift (KML) was appointed as the principal contractor to carry out the decommissioning engineering, planning and offshore works. The final major lift operations included the rigging, cutting and lifting of the over 500 tonne structure by KML which was successfully executed at Strangford Lough.

The surface piercing tidal stream SeaGen system was installed in 2008 and became the world’s first commercial scale, electricity generating, grid connected tidal stream project. It exported over 11.6 GWh of power during its useful life and the lessons learned from the project have underpinned both present and future global tidal turbine development whilst helping to shape the success of the MeyGen multi-megawatt tidal stream array.

The first phase of decommissioning SeaGen started in May 2016 with the removal of the system’s two 600 kW power trains. In August 2018 the topsides and crossbeam were removed, and final works were completed with the successful removal of the remaining tower and subsea structure. 

MeyGen Phase 1A during installation
SeaGen, now decommissioned
MeyGen Phase 1A during installation
MeyGen Phase 1A during installation

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