SAE Renewables said it reached a milestone at its MeyGen tidal array off the Scottish coast with 50GW of power since operations began. Photo by Akinom/Wikimedia Commons
Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A tidal energy array off the northern coast of Scotland is the first facility of its kind to generate 50 gigawatt-hours of electricity over its lifespan, SAE Renewables announced.
Graham Reid, the company's CEO, said the facility off the northern coast of Scotland reached a new milestone since commercial operations began in 2018.
"This unseen and sometimes forgotten site has some of the strongest tidal flows found anywhere in the world and presents a predictable source of renewable electricity," he said.
To put the 50 gigawatt-hours in perspective, Reid said the total capacity of all other tidal energy arrays in the world account for less than 50% of what's been produced from the MeyGen facility off the coast of Scotland.
The Scottish government has focused on novel renewable sources of energy for years, with German energy company RWE starting a prototype for turbines that run on wave energy in the early 2010s.
Construction for the first phase of the MeyGen project began in January 2015 with the installation of four tidal turbines boasting a peak capacity of 1.5 megawatts each. A second phase could start as early as 2027 and SAE is already in the planning stages for a 312 MW phase four.
"We are immensely proud of what we have achieved, supported by our committed and loyal stakeholders in the Scottish government," Reid said Monday.
Scotland pegged a 2014 bid for independence from the United Kingdom on revenue from oil and gas reserves in the North Sea. The government of outgoing Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said an independent economy would've been funded by fossil fuels, but powered by renewables.
Data from 2020, the last full year for which the government supplied data, show about 27% of total Scottish energy consumption came from renewable resources, a record level for the economy.