The latest results of the UK Government’s renewable auction, the Contracts for Difference scheme, was described as ‘catastrophic’ for the offshore wind sector. But tidal stream energy in the UK was awarded a huge boost, with 11 companies successfully gaining contracts.
The auction awards a 15-year contract to the projects that bid the lowest price for the clean electricity they go on to generate. At an agreed strike price of £198/MWh, the developers behind these projects can now move forward with confidence.
In Wales, more than 22MW of tidal stream capacity was contracted, spread across four different developers, all of which are members of Marine Energy Wales. As a team we are delighted with the outcome for these projects and are looking forward to working with them closely and supporting them over the months and years ahead.
So who are they and when can we expect to see their projects deployed? You can hear more from the developers in our video below.
Hydrowing tidal projects ltd – awarded 10mw
Based in Falmouth in Cornwall, the HydroWing team is made up of specialised offshore engineers. Already familiar with Anglesey thanks to their work with Minesto, Inyanga (Hydrowing’s parent company), prides itself on providing reliable offshore operations for developers.
Their 10MW Morlais project will be delivered in 2027 / 2028, and the team say the work to deliver it will begin in the coming months, including engagement with key local stakeholders and supply chain companies in Anglesey and establishing a presence in the area.
The HydroWing is a multi-rotor subsea device with 2-4 turbines mounted on a wing like structure which is stabbed onto a sub-structure, a modular gravity-based frame mounted on the seabed. The device can be a single or double wing, depending on water depth. The technology’s key advantages are the enhanced redundancy of the multi-rotor system and the high packing density.
Their Morlais project will consist of 14 devices, a total of 10MW, and each device consists of two T3 turbines which are HydroWing’s latest generation turbines.
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 Mon and with our supply chain partners in Anglesey to deliver our first 10MW of clean and predictable power to the Anglesey Grid.
I think the development of the Morlais tidal project by Menter Mon has been a huge boost and it’s an ideal business model for emerging technologies.
Unfortunately I think we need more of these type of test sites in order to make these up and coming technologies work. There’s definitely more political support for tidal energy and hopefully we can make something of this to build an industry.Richard Parkinson, MD, HydroWing
Mor energy ltd / qed naval – awarded 4.5 mw
QED Naval is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The company was founded in 2008 after over a decade of working within naval defence research. Their Welsh subsidiary, Mor Energy Ltd is operating out of Pembroke Dock, and was set up to develop tidal energy projects in the Celtic Sea, specifically within Welsh waters. The initial focus is to develop sites at Morlais, but future projects are planned around the Pembrokeshire coast. The initial project is planned for deployment in 2026 / 2027.
QED Naval developed its Subhub tidal platform to make it quicker and easier to install tidal energy systems. Subhub has been shown to cut the costs of deploying and maintaining tidal stream turbines by up to 60% and improve yields by up to 48%. Their project will also involve Tocardo BV tidal turbines technology.
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.
We are delighted with this news and I would like to thank all our shareholders who have backed our ambitious vision and disruptive tidal technology. This is a huge vote of confidence in the tidal stream energy sector and will allow us to move forward with our plans to develop the infrastructure and create skilled jobs in the supply chain.
“With a global tidal energy market of £76 billion, and a predicted GVA of £1.4bn by 2030, supporting some 4,000 jobs, the UK has the chance to truly become the frontrunner of the ocean energy market globally.
Huge thanks to UK Marine Energy Council and Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult for representing the tidal sector and for their part in this massive news to the tidal sector. We also need to mention everyone at Menter Môn Morlais Ltd and Marine Energy Wales who have worked so hard for so long to provide a fully consented tidal site to deploy our Subhub tidal platform and Tocardo BV tidal turbines technology .Jeremy Smith, CEO, QED Naval
Verdant isles ltd – awarded 4.9mw
Verdant Isles Ltd is a joint venture company established by Verdant Power, Inc. (New York, NY) and Duggan Brothers Ltd. (Ireland).
With over 20 years experience, the company has developed industry-leading capabilities in tidal power generation. Verdant deploys multiple turbines on mounts in an 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. Verdant’s Morlais project is planned for 2027 / 2028.
The central component of the Verdant Power Tidal Turbine System is a three-bladed horizontal-axis turbine. The turbine is equipped with a composite rotor (1) with three blades that rotate at a slow and regular rate, well below normal water vessel propeller speeds and conventional hydropower turbine blade speeds.
Everyone at Verdant Isles is excited and honoured to hear of the award. The Morlais project represents a meaningful step forward for the tidal energy industry in general as well as the UK’s green energy efforts in particular. This news supports the UK commitment to provide predictable and environmentally compatible renewable tidal energy for the future.
With the environmental consent, a grid interconnection connection and now a positive revenue stream, VIL can confidently go to the grant and capital markets to raise the project financing to complete the first 5MW phase of the commercial project, with buildout of an additional 25 MW to follow.Joe Klein, Chairman of the VIL Board of Directors
magallanes renovables – awarded 3mw extension
Established in Spain in 2009, Magallanes Renovables also has a UK base in Orkney. The company received a guaranteed price on its electricity in AR4 of CfD in 2022. This time, Magallanes secured a guaranteed price on a further 3MW of electricity, to be delivered in 2027 / 2028.
Magallanes is a leading innovator in the renewable energy sector and focuses on the development and commercialisation of floating tidal energy systems.
Magallanes’s philosophy is to use as much technology as there is available from the wind and naval industries. This way they say they can minimize the technology risk and focus on the technical challenges that are unique to them.
The company secured two successful contracts as part of AR5 – the first at Morlais, where they will install two 1.5MW tidal energy platforms, adding 3MW to the 6MW secured in last year’s round.
Their second project will take place at EMEC in Scotland where the company has plans to install a 1.5MW tidal energy array.
We are proud to be at the forefront of sustainable energy solutions. These Contracts for Difference represent a significant step towards unlocking a new resource at a large scale that will bring a brighter, cleaner, and more sustainable future
for our communities, our planet, and generations to come.
The projects in Morlais and Scotland are poised to make a substantial impact on the renewable energy landscape in the UK. As Magallanes Renovables continues to pioneer clean energy solutions, it remains dedicated to shaping a greener and more sustainable world.Alex Marques de Magallanes, CEO, Magallanes Renovables
All four of these projects plan to deploy at Morlais in Anglesey. Managed by social enterprise company Menter Môn, Morlais aims to provide the infrastructure for developers of tidal energy converters to deploy their devices on a commercial scale.
Once operational, it has the potential to generate up to 240MW of clean low carbon electricity, which can be transmitted to the National Grid.
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.Gerallt Llewelyn Jones, Director, Morlais