Driving ambition in tidal energy

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Monday December 4th, 2023 

Morlais – driving Welsh ambition in tidal energy

Anglesey renewable energy project, Morlais is having a transformative impact on the emerging tidal energy sector as well as local communities. These are the findings of a recent report by Wavehill Social and Economic Research on the first phase of the project.

The report highlights that the project, managed by third sector organisation, Menter Môn has ensured Wales is now a major player in the tidal energy market. Feedback from technology developers and supply chain stakeholders shows that progress made so far has led to increased confidence and political support, with hopes that this will help promote growth in the sector.

With the potential to generate up to 240MW of electricity, Morlais is the first tidal energy project on this scale to be led by a social enterprise, and directors are optimistic it can continue to innovate.

Gerallt Llewelyn Jones from Morlais explains: “We are proud of what we have achieved so far and to have reached a stage where the impact both locally and nationally is recognised. We had always set out to bring benefits to communities here on Ynys Môn, but the report also acknowledges the wider national impact of Morlais, which is great news for the project and the sector as a whole.

“Economically, the project has already contributed to the creation of jobs, both during the consultation and pre-consent phase. As the project advances and with local contractors in place, further job opportunities are expected, along with increased value within the supply chain across north Wales.”

As well as economic benefits delivering social benefit has always been high on the agenda for Menter Môn and Morlais.

Dafydd Gruffydd is Managing Director of Menter Môn, he adds: “This report shows that as an organisation we are well placed to successfully deliver sustainable development projects on this scale. We had a vision for local ownership and to ensure Morlais delivers for our communities. Whilst this will continue to be the driving force, I am pleased that the unique operating model for Morlais is recognised for its potential to attract technology developers from across the UK and beyond – reinforcing our role in shaping this important sector.”

Work on the Morlais Substation near Ynys Lawd (South Stack) is almost complete, and the first turbines are expected to be deployed in the sea in 2026. The project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and has also secured funding for consent and development from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the Isle of Anglesey County Council.

Wavehill Report Executive Summary

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