ABB's Awarded Grid Connection for Euro Tidal Project

By Joseph R. Fonseca
Monday, August 18, 2014
Tidal Energy

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has been awarded a contract by Atlantis Resources Limited to provide the onshore grid connection for Phase I of the MeyGen tidal stream project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth.

The MeyGen tidal stream project is at the forefront of world marine energy development and will harvest the tidal resources of one of the most energetic maritime sites in Europe, the strait connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea between the Orkney Islands and the Scottish mainland.

The first 6 megawatt (MW) demonstration phase of the UK’s first large-scale tidal array scheme will see four submerged turbines installed in the Inner Pentland Firth just north of Caithness, with first power expected to be delivered by 2016.

ABB is responsible for the onshore power conversion and grid connection systems to feed the electricity safely and reliably into the local distribution grid. ABB’s project scope includes design, engineering, supply and commissioning of the power conversion, switchgear and transformer solution as well as associated civil engineering and cabling works. Major product supplies include transformers, medium voltage switchgear and power converters.

“We are pleased to facilitate this innovative project and tap the potential of marine energy“ said Claudio Facchin, Head of ABB’s Power Systems division. “It reaffirms the faith our customers have in ABB’s technology and proven capability to deliver safe, reliable and efficient grid connections which play a key role in integrating renewables, that are making an increasing contribution to the energy mix.”

Studies including those by engineers from the University of Edinburgh and University of Oxford indicate the Pentland Firth’s tidal stream has vast energy potential, with ocean currents estimated at 5 meters (about 11 feet) per second, among the fastest in the British Isles.

“Forming partnerships with the leading players in the energy sector is key to delivering commercial-scale tidal power projects that allow us to harness the untapped potential of global tidal resources. ABB has clearly demonstrated exceptional expertise in this area and we are confident they will deliver the highest quality results. We look forward to working with the team at ABB to ensure the success of the MeyGen project” says Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive Officer, Atlantis Resources Ltd.

The initial phase of the MeyGen development has the potential to generate up to 86 MW of electricity, enough power for around 42,000 homes,potentially catering to the needs of almost  40 percent of households in the Scottish Highlands.

Within the next ten years, MeyGen intends to deploy up to 398 MW of offshore tidal stream turbines in the Pentland Firth to supply clean and renewable electricity to the UK National Grid.

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