The world’s largest tidal-stream array has “eclipsed” the previous record for electricity exported to the national grid, its developer and operator has said, supplying the annual energy requirement for over 2,200 homes since the start of the year.

The MeyGen array, between the northern coast of mainland Scotland and the island of Stroma, has exported 17.5GWh – much higher than the previous record of approximately 11GWh.

The Simec Atlantis project uses horizontal-axis turbines fixed to the seafloor in the fast-flowing tidal stream. The array also recorded the longest period of uninterrupted generation from a multi-megawatt tidal turbine array this year, Atlantis said. Total system availability was at almost 98% for the second quarter of the year.

“We are delighted to report the continued strong performance of the turbines at MeyGen,” said CEO Tim Cornelius.

“Uninterrupted production generates large volumes of valuable performance data which can be used to improve performance, optimise future system design and provide confidence to project financiers who will be called upon to fund our plans to expand this world-renowned project. Future phases will use the new AR2000 turbine we are proudly developing with GE and our new subsea hub which will further reduce costs and enhance efficiency.”

The AR2000 system will rise 25m above the seabed, with a 20m rotor diameter spinning at up to 3.1m/s. It will weigh 150 tonnes and the rotor will rotate at 6-14 rpm. The subsea connection system will reportedly take less than 30 minutes and require “no additional intervention”.

The Atlantis team is working on several initiatives to increase installed capacity at MeyGen to the maximum lease of 398MW, Cornelius added. Full expansion would result in capacity 50% higher than Dounreay, the largest nuclear station in the Highlands.

Article Source: IMechE

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