Photo: Morlais Demonstration Zone (Courtesy of Welsh Government)

Morlais tidal energy project gets government’s OK

The Welsh Government has given its consent for the development of the Morlais tidal stream energy project set to be located offshore Holy Island.

This is the first part of the consenting process, which means construction can now begin onshore in preparation for offshore activities.

Morlais, led by Menter Môn, will be located off the northwest coast of Holy Island and will have the potential capacity to power over 180,000 homes once fully operational.

A decision by Natural Resources Wales is now expected with regards to granting a Marine Licence which will allow turbines to be deployed offshore.

“Morlais is an important project for us here on the island as well as the wider north Wales region. Not only will it secure long-term quality jobs and help develop local supply chains but it can also deliver training opportunities for our young people right here on their doorstep,” said Dafydd Gruffydd, managing director of Menter Môn.

“The potential of Morlais isn’t just economic though – and we have become very aware of our impact on the planet. Both Westminster and Welsh governments have made it clear that carbon reduction is a priority. Tidal energy is low carbon, clean and reliable – our aim through Morlais is to play our part in tackling climate change and ensuring we leave a legacy that we’re proud of.”

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Morlais is one of five projects within the Growth Deal’s Low Carbon Energy Programme which is expected to unlock the economic benefits from this growing sector. The programme aims to position north Wales at the forefront of the low-carbon energy sector and the drive towards net-zero by 2050.

Once all necessary consents are in place, the construction and operation of the project will take place in phases to allow monitoring of the impact on wildlife and habitat.

Onshore work is expected to begin early next year, with work offshore set to start in 2023.

The Morlais project has secured the support of the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO), The Isle of Anglesey County Council, the North Wales Growth Deal, as well as The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.