Black & Veatch believes that tidal stream energy has made a further step towards commercial viability following free publication of its assessment of the Meygen tidal array in the Pentland Firth, Scotland. It is the most comprehensive lifecycle assessment to-date of a megawatt-scale project in the UK. The assessment shares lessons learned during the planning, design, delivery and initial 18 months of operation of the 6 MW array.

Phase 1A of the MeyGen project was partly funded through a £10 million grant from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS); with a requirement that lessons learnt from the project were collated and shared.

“The assessment offers valuable lessons for everyone involved in developing tidal-stream energy as a viable source of power,” said Tim Baker, Black & Veatch Marine Energy director. “At each point in the asset’s lifecycle the report identifies where efficiencies, cost savings, economies of scale and improvements can be achieved. Crucially, the assessment also shares safer ways of working in the potentially high-risk marine environment.”

MeyGen Phase 1A, a 6MW demonstration array consisting of four 1.5 MW tidal turbines, entered its 25 year operations phase in April 2018. The array has successfully exported 21 gigawatt hours to the grid to date, with an average turbine availability of around 95 % during its operational phase. The assessment explains what worked well, what was less successful, and – based on this knowledge – makes recommendations to enhance the success of future projects.

Tidal stream energy could, theoretically, supply more than 150 TWh per annum globally. This represents a potential total global market of up to 50 GW of generating capacity. Tidal is a significant source of renewable energy; its predictable nature makes it a valuable part of a balanced energy mix.

Regions with significant tidal stream energy resources include the Bay of Fundy, Canada, and the UK, France, China, South Korea and Indonesia.

The report executive summary may be downloaded here: 

and the full account of lessons leaned in the design, construction and initial operations phases of MeyGen Phase 1A here: