A pioneering subsea connection hub for the world’s biggest tidal stream energy scheme will be built off Scotland after the government there awarded £1.55m ($1.85m) to the project’s developer.
The “world first” undersea hub will allow multiple tidal turbines to be connected to a single power export cable, said Simec Atlantis Energy, which added that the same technology could also be used in the floating wind sector.
Atlantis is developing its 80MW MeyGen tidal array in the Pentland Firth off northern Scotland, with plans to supply power to a data centre in what is claimed to be another global first for marine energy.
The developer said the subsea hub is crucial in reducing the costs and physical infrastructure needed to connect its 40, 2MW tidal turbines.
“The technology leverages the innovative design of the Atlantis turbine wet mate connection system, which enables rapid and automatic connection and disconnection of power and communication infrastructure offshore without any intervention,” said a statement.
Atlantis CEO Tim Cornelius said: “The subsea hub we have designed and developed is a key part of our overall cost reduction strategy for tidal power generation. This hub will also have direct application for other forms of marine energy such as floating offshore wind and wave energy.”
The hub is due to be installed later in 2020. Atlantis received the cash as part of the Scottish government’s Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.
Recharge revealed earlier this year how Atlantis was in advanced talks with “major” IT companies, clearing the way for development of a “hyperscale” data centre that would be wired into a “virtual power plant” connecting MeyGen and a number of onshore and island-based wind farms.
MeyGen – which has a seabed lease for a 398MW tidal power installation – is the flagship of Simec Altantis renewable energy portfolio, but the company, which was formed from the merger of Simec Energy and Atlantis Resources in late 2017, is also developing projects including a “multi-hundred-megawatt” tidal array off France that is being positioned to power the island of Alderney.
Last year, Simec Atlantis also signed a partnership deal with US power technology giant GE to develop commercial-scale tidal power around world, using a 2MW version of the AR1500.