From water to electricity with ABB

Making waves: an underwater turbine goes into action
Making waves: an underwater turbine goes into action

Stone based engineers ABB will be playing a key role in bringing power from the world’s largest planned tidal energy project onshore in north east Scotland. ABB has been contracted by Atlantis Resources Limited to provide the onshore grid connection for Phase I of their £ 70 million MeyGen tidal stream project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth.

MeyGen’s initial phase will see four underwater turbines installed in the Pentland Firth, just north of Caithness.  Separating the Scottish mainland from the Orkney islands and connecting the North Sea with the Atlantic, the Pentland Firth has some of the highest tides in the UK. Construction at the Ness of Quoys project site began last month.

ABB will be responsible for the onshore power conversion and grid connection systems to feed the electricity safely and reliably into the local distribution grid.  Coordinated by ABB Grid Systems in Stone and East Kilbride, the project covers the design, engineering, supply and commissioning plus civil engineering and cabling works.  The sophisticated electronic kit they will be supplying includes transformers, medium voltage switchgear and power converters.

The first power from this 6 megawatt demonstration phase is expected to be delivered to the national grid in 2016, powering 3000 homes.  If this proves successful, the next phase of the MeyGen development would see 61 seabed turbines generating 86 Megawatts to power around 42,000 homes, almost 40 percent of households in the Scottish Highlands.

Within the next ten years, Atlantis intends to scale up to 269 turbines generating up to 398 Megawatts to power approximately 175,000 Scottish homes in what is thought to be the  world’s largest tidal energy project to date.

Stephen Trotter, ABB Local Division Manager for Power Systems UK, said:

“We are delighted that ABB’s Power Systems business, which has its headquarters in Stone is involved in this prestigious tidal energy project, especially as it has particular synergy with the skills and knowhow we have established in other renewable energy sectors such as wind and solar.”