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Baseefa Ltd

Anglesey tidal and wind power projects cancelled

02 September 2014

A £70m tidal project off Anglesey that would have powered 10,000 homes and created dozens of jobs has been suspended. The 10MW Skerries Tidal Stream Array, which was to be Wales’s first commercial tidal energy farm, was approved by the Welsh Government in February 2013. This comes just weeks after the collapse of a large windfarm project, also off Anglesey.

The Skerries project would have used Siemens SeaGen turbines
The Skerries project would have used Siemens SeaGen turbines

It would have seen seven massive tidal generators located in up to 130ft (40m) of water at the Skerries, off the north west coast of Anglesey. Work was due to start in 2015, but developers Siemens and subsidiary Marine Current Turbines have now announced the project has been suspended.

However, in a statement issued yesterday Siemens revealed it was freezing work on the project and would now look at other opportunities to deploy its SeaGen tidal generators.
"Following discussion with our partners we have decided to suspend our work on the Skerries Tidal Array Project in Anglesey, Wales," the statement reads. "We will continue to review our strategy for deployment. Our discussions with suppliers and other key stakeholders are ongoing on different opportunities.

"We continue to believe that tidal energy will play an important future role in delivering the UK's low carbon economy and creating long term sustainable jobs."

The scheme had initially been backed by the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s Marine Energy Array Demonstration Fund with a £10m grant, but this was later withdrawn.

This would have been the first full-scale commercial tidal turbine following a trial scheme,
which has operated successfully in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland since 2008.

However, it also comes after a number of marine energy project developers reported encouraging progress this month with Altantis Resources confirming work is to start soon on its MeyGen tidal stream turbine project in Scotland and Tidal Energy Limited unveiling Wales' first commercial scale tidal turbine.

The wind farm project was for a large-scale 440 turbine array 10 miles off the coast of Anglesey. Celtic Array, a partnership of Centrica and Danish firm Dong Energy, said on July 31 it would not proceed with development of the Rhiannon project, which would have produced power for around 1.7m homes.

The company said the Irish Sea was "economically unviable" because the sea bed is too deep and the geology too difficult. Different types of rock and sand would have meant that the construction would have had to use different footings and foundations which would have led to costs increasing exponentionally, according to Centrica.

The BBC said industry body RenewableUK had suggested there could be other reasons as well - government policy, the UK's new Energy Bill, and the reduction in subsidies to produce renewable energy.

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