Morlais tidal energy zone (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)

Franco-Scottish tidal power duo secures 12MW berth offshore Wales

French tidal energy company Sabella and its Scottish counterpart Nova Innovation have secured a 12MW berth at one of the world’s largest tidal energy sites off the coast of Anglesey in Wales.

Morlais tidal energy zone (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)
Morlais tidal energy zone (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)
Morlais tidal energy zone (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)

The project at Morlais tidal energy zone, which covers an area of 35 km2 in the sea, is the first win for Sabella and Nova Innovation after they announced in June 2021 that they will be working together on tidal energy site development.

Each company will develop 6MW in the 12MW berth which covers an area of 0.65 km2. A 12MW tidal turbine site could power up to 10,000 homes a year, according to developers.

The companies have already started surveys at Morlais and they are looking to install their first turbines in 2023/24. 

Both tidal turbines from Sabella and Nova Innovation sit on the seabed and are completely submerged, with no visual impact on the landscape. The technologies produce clean, predictable energy and work in harmony with nature as marine life can freely move around them.

Fanch Le Bris, CEO of Sabella, said: “Sabella is enthusiastic about this significant achievement, supporting the Welsh Government in its energy transition journey. The Morlais project illustrates the strong commitment from Nova and Sabella teams to build capacity for tidal energy across France and the UK and deliver high-impact projects.”

Simon Forrest, CEO of Nova Innovation, added: “Nova is delighted to be expanding in Wales and the Morlais win is testament to the hard work of our team in Wales over the years. The Morlais project provides a fantastic opportunity for Sabella and Nova to scale up and help drive Wales’s net zero targets.”

Menter Môn is responsible for managing the Morlais site and awarding the berths. The 240MW site was awarded consents for development from the Welsh Government in December 2021.

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Natural Resources Wales has granted a marine license that will allow tidal turbines to be installed.

Construction and operation of the project will take place in phases to allow for environmental monitoring of wildlife and habitat, the developers said.

Julie James, climate change minister for the Welsh Government, said: “I welcome the news of Nova Innovation and Sabella’s plans for expansion through the Morlais project and that it will bring highly-skilled jobs to north Wales. There is an abundance of marine resources in Wales which we need to harness in a sustainable way if we are to move towards a low carbon economy.”

Sabella and Nova Innovation are now looking to build on this initial project by combining expertise and developing other tidal energy sites in the UK and France. 

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