Four turbine developers linked to the Anglesey tidal energy project, Morlais, have been awarded Contracts for Difference (CfD) as part of the UK Government’s latest renewable energy auction, AR5.
The contracts give revenue security to the developers for the electricity they generate as part of the scheme. Morlais has welcomed the news as a significant milestone and an endorsement for the project at a crucial time in its development, with the work on the landfall substation near South Stack nearing completion.
Three of the developers secured contracts for the first time, whilst Magallanes have secured a 3MW extension to their award under the previous, AR4, auction. The award means that developers in the Morlais zone have now secured a total of 28MW capacity which is enough electricity to power all of Anglesey’s domestic properties.
The announcement also boosts Anglesey’s ambition to be a centre of excellence for Tidal Energy and is seen as significant in terms of attracting future investment to the area.
Gerallt Llewelyn Jones, a director with Morlais, said: “This is great news for us at Morlais and to the tidal energy sector in Wales. It is a major step forward and paves the way for commercial deployment of tidal stream technology in Wales. By working with the developers we now have the potential to attract over £50 million of investment to the area and create significant local job opportunities, this has always been central to our plans for the project.”
The news means that the 4 developers are now in a strong position to work with the supply chain in Wales as they prepare to deploy their technology off the coast of Holy Island.
Richard Parkinson, Managing Director of HydroWing, added: “The successful AR5 application is the culmination of a huge effort from our team to develop a more efficient and cost-effective tidal energy solution for Morlais. We look forward to working closely with Menter Môn and with our supply chain partners in Anglesey to deliver our first 10MW of clean and predictable power to the Anglesey grid.”
Welcoming the news, Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “These schemes are an important step forward in delivering on our commitments on green energy and reflect the hard work of the many partners working on Anglesey, Wales’ energy island.
The CfD scheme was set up to provide government support to the renewable energy sector in the UK. As well as providing developers a guaranteed price for their electricity, it also recognises the importance of tidal stream as a reliable energy source. This is an ongoing process, Morlais continue to support developers in preparation for the next allocation round, AR6 in Spring of 2024.
Morlais is the largest consented tidal energy development in the UK. Once built, it has the potential to generate up to 240MW of clean low carbon electricity. Menter Môn won the Crown Estate lease to manage the 35km2 zone in 2014. In line with the consent granted for the scheme, construction and operation will happen in phases to enable monitoring of impact on wildlife and habitat and Morlais will work closely with Natural Resources Wales in this respect.
The project is funded by the European Regional Development fund through the Welsh Government. The Isle of Anglesey County Council, North Wales Growth Deal, as well as The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have also supported the project.
The companies that have received CfDs in AR5 are:
- HydoWing Inyanga Marine Projects. Based in Falmouth, HydroWing tidal technology incorporates a full systems approach, with low-cost operations & maintenance and power reliability core to its design. The HydroWing team members boast an unrivalled track record executing complex tidal energy projects for many of the sectors past and current developers. Already familiar with Anglesey thanks to their work with Minesto, Inyanga (Hydrowing’s parent company) prides itself on providing reliable offshore operations for developers. They have secured a guaranteed price on up to 10MW of electricity.
- Môr Energy QED Naval. The company has been operating since 2008. The turbines used in Morlais will be their industrial level tidal turbines which are medium sized and have a capacity to generate between 100KW and 250KW of electricity. They have secured a guaranteed price on up to 4.5MW of electricity.
- Verdant Power. With over 20 years of experience, the company has developed industry-leading capabilities in tidal power generation. Verdant deploys multiple turbines on mounts in a array fully underwater, not visible from the surface. The company was part of the RITE project which was the first commercially licensed tidal power project in the United States and have secured a guaranteed price on up to 4.9MW of electricity generated as part of Morlais.
- Magallanes Renovables. Established in Spain in 2009, the company received a guaranteed price on its electricity in AR4 of CfD in 2022. The tidal energy developer focuses on the development and commercialisation of floating tidal energy systems. This time, Magallanes have secured a guaranteed price on a further 3MW of electricity.