The Crown Estate has committed to invest nearly £10million into the MeyGen Ltd tidal power development

The Crown Estate has announced that it has committed to invest nearly £10million into the MeyGen Ltd tidal power development, as part of approximately £50million of funding for the first phase of its 398MW project in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth, Scotland.

The MeyGen funding syndicate for the first phase of this project also includes Atlantis Resources Ltd, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Scottish Enterprise via the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (delivered by the Scottish Investment Bank) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Given its location in one of the most challenging and promising stretches of UK water, The Inner Sound tidal array project has the potential to play a crucial role in advancing technology and developing essential construction and operating experience on the path towards larger commercial schemes around the UK and worldwide.

By applying targeted capital and sharing its expertise in offshore wave and tidal energy, The Crown Estate hopes to catalyse investments by others and see further projects proceed to construction and operation, thereby maintaining the UK’s global lead in this sector.

Rob Hastings, director of energy and infrastructure for The Crown Estate, said: ‘We have been a major player in the development of the offshore renewable energy industry for over 10 years.

‘Our commitment to this investment is part of our strategy to explore the potential of tidal stream energy on a commercial scale with a project that offers a crucial stepping stone on the path towards unlocking the nation’s tidal energy potential over the long term.’

As manager of the UK seabed, The Crown Estate has an active role in the development of the offshore renewables industry, working with developers to de-risk the development process for both wave and tidal projects through enabling actions to support health and safety, environmental assessment, planning and consent, grid infrastructure and supply chain development.

To date, The Crown Estate has leased more than 40 sites for tidal current and wave projects, and has now started the first leasing process for tidal range projects.

This includes new seabed rights agreed this summer, including:

  • Six new wave and tidal current demonstration zones across the UK. For the first time this is enabling locally-based organisations to manage and sub-let parts of the seabed to a range of wave and tidal stream developers; and
  • Five new wave and tidal current sites, each with the potential to deliver a project of between 10 and 30 MW.

The announcement complements The Crown Estate’s broader role in the renewables sector as it works to support the development the offshore wind sector in the UK, with up to a £100million of investment.

This has been targeted at a range of initiatives and research designed to accelerate development and attract investors, such as the Marine Data Exchange, which provides unique access to survey data and reports collated during the planning, building and operating of offshore renewable energy projects.