Morlais is Menter Môn's tidal stream energy project. It manages an area of 35 km2 of the seabed near Holy Island, Anglesey. The scheme has the potential to generate up to 240MW of low carbon clean electricity.
In 2014, the Crown Estate designated this area of seabed off the coast of Holy Island as the West Anglesey Demonstration Zone for tidal energy. This is the area we now know as Morlais. The intention in designating the demonstration zone was to encourage the growth of the tidal energy sector. Menter Môn secured the lease at that time, beating competition from all over the world.
The aim is to play a role in tackling climate change while delivering economic and social benefit to local communities and the wider region. As a local company this has been central to our vision from the outset.
The project and the way in which it will operate is unique, and the only one of its kind in the world. Morlais will install the necessary infrastructure in the zone, including a connection to the national grid and a substation on the shore near South Stack and Parc Cybi. It will then rent a berth to various turbine development companies so they can use tidal energy to generate electricity. This may mean different types of electricity generation technology will be installed at sea as part of Morlais.
The first part of the project focused on seeking consent from the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to develop the scheme. Consultation and engagement with the community and statutory stakeholders was a key part of that. The application was submitted in autumn 2019, and consent was obtained in December 2021.
The second part of the project puts the infrastructure in place so that tidal energy technology developers can install their devices at sea. The plan is to develop the site step by step which means that devices will be phased into the water to ensure that marine wildlife is not harmed.
Morlais is the largest consented project in the world of this type – so there is real potential here to put Anglesey and north Wales on the map from the perspective of this important growth sector.