First tidal energy site in Wales gets an official launch
The first minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has officially opened the substation linked to Morlais tidal energy site on Anglesey in Wales.
The event, which is the culmination of more than ten years’ work, marks not only a significant milestone for the project itself but for the tidal energy sector in Wales.
Morlais, off the west coast of Holy Island is the largest consented tidal energy scheme in the UK.
It is managed by Anglesey-based social enterprise, Menter Môn, who secured the Crown Estate lease for the 35km2 zone of seabed in 2014.
Since then, and having secured consent in 2021, work has been ongoing to put onshore infrastructure in place. The first tidal energy devices are expected to be deployed at sea in 2026.
“Morlais is a groundbreaking project and a key part of our transition to a low carbon economy. It is an example of the type of development that will help Wales reach our net zero targets and underlines the importance of investing in clean energy infrastructure for our future generations,” Mark Drakeford said.
Once operational the site has potential to generate up to 240MW of low carbon electricity. It is seen as a unique model within the sector – rather than producing electricity itself, Morlais will provide developers of tidal energy devices with the consent and infrastructure they need to supply electricity to the grid.
Five developers, including Minesto, HydoWing, QED Naval, Verdant Power, and Magallanes Renovables, have already agreed connection within the scheme and discussions with an additional five are at an advanced stage.
Gerallt Llewelyn Jones, a director with Morlais who has been at the heart of the project since its inception, said: “This is a huge day for us. We have faced many challenges along the way, but thanks to the determination of the team and support from partners and funders we can now look forward to the next phase in the scheme’s development.
“As a Menter Môn project, Morlais is rooted in our local community and the broader economic landscape. From day one we’ve been committed to advancing a more sustainable and renewable energy future and today’s achievement reflects our team’s dedication. I’m excited to see our efforts come to fruition as we get closer to generating electricity off the coast of Anglesey.”
In line with the Menter Môn commitment to secure benefit to the north Wales economy, Ruthin-based Jones Bros Civil Engineering has been responsible for the construction of the substation officially opened by the first minister.
Working with other local companies, they also undertook the cabling work, connecting the scheme to the national grid.
The project is funded by the European Regional Development fund through the Welsh government.
The Isle of Anglesey County Council, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and North Wales Growth Deal have also supported the project.
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