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Global tidal developers attracted to Anglesey
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The Morlais Demo Zone attracts global developers to Anglesey

Eight tidal energy developers have successfully secured access to a berth from Third Party Manager Menter Mon for the Anglesey based project.
The competitive process to allocate the Demo Zone ran throughout the summer with a total of 14 companies from around the world making an application. Competition was strong with some of the most capable and ambitious players in the industry coming forward. A series of rounds have resulted in 8 successful developers joining the project which has so far been supported by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Welsh Government.

The successful developers are:

  • AQUANTIS

  • INSTREAM ENERGY SYSTEMS  

  • KEPLER ENERGY

  • NOVA INNOVATION

  • OPENHYDRO

  • TIDALSTREAM

  • TOCARDO TIDAL ENERGY

  • VERDANT ISLES

The first Morlais Developer Group meeting was held in Llangefni on October 27th.  Attendees included developers from across the globe, Welsh Government and Menter Mon. 

The high level of interest from global players is a strong indicator that Anglesey and Wales is viewed as an important contender for a lead role in the proving and developing of tidal turbine arrays.


John Armstrong from TidalStream – a SCHOTTEL HYDRO company said  ”It is a privilege to part of the largest planned marine energy project in Wales, and we look forward to working with Morlais and the other stakeholders. One of the benefits of our Triton platform technology is the maximizing of local manufactured content: for our demonstrator in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia – due to be installed next year – the local content will be 75%, bringing manufacturing jobs and benefits to the local community.”

A fully populated zone will attract £500m of turbine developer investments into tidal stream energy on Anglesey and has the potential to create a significant number of jobs in the local economy.

The Welsh Government has been an important supporter from day one and has welcomed the progress made by Menter Môn. Ken Skates , Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “This is an ambitious project that seeks to ensure Wales is at the forefront of the tidal energy sector and that areas such as Anglesey are well placed to derive maximum economic benefit from the testing, development and commercial exploitation of these innovative and technologically advanced devices.”

The consenting work and grid connection process is ongoing, and these 8 commitments will provide added impetus to progress them in earnest.
The project is currently fund raising for the capital infrastructure build and is looking to secure Welsh European Funding Office grant as a substantial part of this. There is also an opportunity for private funders to get involved in the future.

Gerallt Llewelyn Jones MD of Menter Mon said ‘We are extremely pleased with the results of our competition and are looking forward to welcoming the developers to North Wales later this month. This collaborative and technology neutral approach offers something entirely new in the marine energy industry. We are offering an opportunity to get involved in the future success of marine energy without having to pick winners. Anglesey has a real opportunity to become an important hub for the growth of tidal energy. The implications for supply chain opportunities and directly created jobs are substantial.”

The Morlais Tidal Demonstration Zone covers an area of 35 square kilometers off Holy Island

BACKGROUND 
 

The technology harnesses tidal energy by the positioning of underwater turbines in groups called arrays. The turbines are connected to cables which connect to distribution networks on shore. Tidal stream energy is good renewable energy – it is predictable, always ‘on’ and consistent.


The tidal industry is at a critical stage in its development. ”There are many turbine manufacturers across the globe who have tested individual turbines and are now gearing up for  their use in arrays where commercial exploitation lies; and Wales can be a big part of it.”

Tidal speeds of over 6 knots are needed for commercial tidal stream sites. The UK has good tidal speeds but when all is considered there are areas which stand out. WALES, and the Anglesey coast has such promising characteristics for commercial tidal stream exploitation that the Crown Estate, owner of inland UK waters, designated a West Anglesey Demonstration Zone as ONE of THREE stand out areas in the UK.
 
The Crown Estate offered a lease of 45 years for each zone, for developers to bid for, on the basis that the developer who adds value to the zone, by applying for planning permission and connecting it to the electricity grid, receives a proportion of income from the power generated.

Menter Mon, an enterprise agency in North West Wales submitted a bid for the lease, motivated by benefit for Anglesey in terms of jobs, but also to ensure that revenues are used for developing the local economy. Menter Mon won following a tendering and interviewing process against several large companies.

Menter Mon were the only local, not for profit company to compete in the UK process.

Menter Mon immediately renamed the zone Morlais, invested 100k of its own money, attracted development funding from Welsh Government, Anglesey County Council and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.







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Morlais · Town Hall · Llangefni · Llangefni, Anglesey ll77 7xa · United Kingdom

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