A groundbreaking tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth has produced first power.
Atlantis Resources, the Edinburgh-based company behind the MeyGen project, said it had been working towards the landmark moment for almost a decade.
MeyGen, located in a stretch of water between Caithness and Orkney, is one of the largest tidal arrays under construction anywhere in the world.
The first turbine to produce power was installed and hooked up to the onshore control centre last week.
It is the first of four 1.5 megawatt (MW) turbines that will become operational as part of the first phase.
Work on the next phase, which benefits from a EUR 17million grant, starts next year.
MeyGen will have a 398MW capacity after the installation of all 269 turbines.
Atlantis chief executive Tim Cornelius said: “This is the moment we have been working towards since we first identified the MeyGen site back in 2007, and I am immensely proud of and grateful for the remarkable team of people who have contributed to this milestone – our suppliers, our funders, our supportive shareholders, and of course the project team, whose commitment, tenacity and belief have been without equal.
“I look forward to bringing more news of the project development over the coming weeks and months as we move into the full operational phase. It’s especially exciting to be making this announcement on the morning after the first super moon in 68 years – last night, those of us with clear skies were able to get a good view of the powerhouse behind tidal energy, and be reminded that even in times like these there are still predictions we can rely on.
“The success of this first phase is a foundation for the tidal industry to build upon to ensure we develop a new energy sector which can deliver clean, predictable and affordable power from the UK’s own abundant resources. When it comes to energy, we think consumers should be asking for the moon, and we know how to harness it.”
Atlantis is the majority owner of the MeyGen project through its 92% shareholding in Tidal Power Scotland, which owns 83.5% of MeyGen alongside Scottish Enterprise on 16.5%.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “News of the first electricity to come from what will hopefully become one of the world’s largest tidal power schemes is a really exciting moment. Well done to all those involved.
“Coming only a few months after turbines off Shetland generated their first power, it’s a sign that Scotland is really starting to make progress in harnessing the power of our seas.
“Along with action to improve energy efficiency, marine renewables have the potential to play a role in powering our homes and businesses in the future. If we are to secure such a future it’s important that the Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy sets an ambition to secure at least half of all our energy needs from renewables by 2030.
“Doing so would ensure Scotland maximises the benefits from a transition to a zero-carbon economy.”