Autumn 2014

Islands in the stream

James Fisher Marine Services wins contract with MeyGen, the first commercial tidal stream development project.

Just off Caithness lies the Pentland Firth, separating northern Scotland from the Orkney Islands. Renowned for its choppy waters, the Firth has some of the fastest tides in the world, with speeds of 8 knots not unknown. For years it has been viewed as one of the best sites for tidal energy and now MeyGen, a 398 megawatt tidal array project is to be built there.

Following its contract win with MeyGen, James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS) will draw on its considerable expertise to install four 1.5 megawatt tidal stream turbines in the Firth, in the first phase (Phase 1A) of development. As part of the contract JFMS will also install subsea cable, gravity bases with ballast and nacelles (housing), as well as building support structures and offshore infrastructure.

Similar in look to wind turbines, tidal stream turbines are held down with additional ballast weights and generate power from the ebbing and flowing of tidal currents. MeyGen will use tidal stream turbines supplied by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest and Atlantis.

Alan Heslop, special projects business development manager of James Fisher said:

“This is a very exciting time for JFMS to be part of this ground-breaking project. The tidal industry is still in its infancy and we welcome the challenge to be engaged at this early stage. The scope of work reflect JFMS’s ability to provide a safe, cost effective solution.”

Work on this first phase (Phase 1A) of the project began in September with the aim of delivering the first electricity to the grid by August 2016. Once it is completed, MeyGen is expected to comprise a massive 269 tidal stream turbines that will provide renewable energy to 175,000 Scottish homes. Other spin-offs include more than 100 “green” industry-related jobs, reduced carbon emissions and long-term demand for companies in the UK supply chain.

Richard Burmeister, managing director of James Fisher Marine Services says:

“I am delighted that JFMS has been selected by MeyGen to complete this exciting project to further the development of tidal energy and strengthen the capabilities of the UK supply chain. This latest award integrates JFMS’s experience of working on complex marine projects with its access to the specialist resources and capabilities of the wider James Fisher group.”

A syndicate which includes Scottish Enterprise (via the Renewable Energy Investment Fund), the Department of Energy and Climate Change, MeyGen’s owner Atlantis Resources and the Crown Estate has raised £50 million to fund the initial stage of the project.

MeyGen director and Atlantis CEO Tim Cornelius says:

MeyGen marks “the long-awaited arrival of tidal stream generation as a serious, large-scale player in global energy markets.”

JFMS’s involvement in the project’s first phase puts it, enviably, at the forefront of commercial subsea tidal installations.

Further information

You can read the latest press release here: JFMS cements its reputation as market leader with latest MeyGen tidal turbine installation.

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