Powersystems are delighted to announce the electrical contract award for the Morlais infrastructure project.

On the stunning coastline of Holy Island in North Wales, work has started on the construction project to generate energy from one of the world’s greatest energy resources: Tidal Power. Morlais in Welsh means “Song of the sea” which seems fitting for a tidal scheme that will harness energy from the sea.

Richard Coleman, Powersystems Electrical Project Engineer updates, ‘The first stage of the project will be a 33 kV connection to support 3 tidal developers, exporting 18 MW. As the more tidal developers come on board, the export capacity will increase to 120 MW and will be connected at 132 kV to the national grid. Stage 3 will increase the site to export 240 MW, supporting 9 further tidal developers.

The 18 month project will encompass the design and installation of a 6 km 132 kV cable between two new substations. For stage one, this 132 kV cable will be energised at 33 kV. Landfall substation will be built to connect the tidal developers and 6 km away, Parc Cybi substation will be built to connect the system to the local DNO (SPEN). Powersystems will design, install and commission all the 33 kV switchgear at both substations along with all the LV, comms, protection and scada systems that will be required. Powersystems and Jones Brothers are together designing the system and substations so that they are future proofed for the increase in capacity. Landfall will be built to house the 132 kV switchgear and 4x 60 MVA grid transformers that will be required in stages 2 & 3.’

The Morlais project is powered by kinetic energy from tidal currents. The project won planning permission from the Welsh government last December and is designed to power more than 180,000 homes once fully operational. Its installation will be phased so that impact on the marine environment can be monitored.

The Welsh Government has been strongly committed to working closely with the marine energy industry and other stakeholders to unlock the energy in the seas around Wales. In March 2022, Climate Change Minister Julie James confirmed £31m of funding would be given to Menter Môn for the Morlais infrastructure project, the largest grant from the EU’s regional funding programme

The Morlais project will install turbines at what will be one of the largest tidal stream energy sites in the world, covering 13 square miles of the seabed. The Morlais Infrastructure development aims to further the development of tidal power generation technologies by providing grid connectivity.

Climate Change Minister Julie James said:

We want to establish Wales as the location of choice for tidal stream developers and the supply chain.

The Welsh Government’s recent Deep Dive highlighted the need to take into account our energy needs and the needs of our ecosystems, the environment and needs of other sea users.

We are looking to find a pathway for marine renewable developments, seeking win-win outcomes and supporting projects to contribute towards positive outcomes for marine biodiversity.

We look to the industry to use this opportunity and work together to demonstrate the cost reductions and private investment that will help establish this clean, resilient and ethical power as a significant part of the global energy system.

 Minister for North Wales Lesley Griffiths added:

Anglesey and North Wales as a whole are very well placed to play a key role in innovative low carbon energy generation which benefits local communities.

The news today is further evidence of that.  Not only will the project be a boost to future low carbon energy production but will also generate jobs and skills in the area.

 Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething said:

The Morlais Infrastructure project is key to unlocking the development of the tidal stream sector in north Wales, bringing a number of economic benefits to the region. With the construction and testing of devices and preparation of infrastructure, the project will attract further sector investment enabling the supply chain to grow and with it create higher-skilled jobs.

The Crown Estate will invest a further £1.2million in the Morlais project, to support the delivery of its environmental monitoring and mitigation package  – an essential step in safeguarding the marine environment and enabling the project to progress.

Increasing renewable energy generation is essential to the de-carbonisation of electricity generation, and increasingly important to the necessary shift to a low carbon economy. With the right regulatory and economic conditions, marine energy has the potential to meet 10% of the European Union’s power demand by 2050. It is also possible that by 2050, power generated by the marine energy sector in Europe could avoid the equivalent of 276M tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimates that the UK has around 50% of Europe’s tidal energy resource. Furthermore, DECC believes that wave and tidal stream energy has the potential to satisfy up to 20% of the UK’s current electricity demand with an installed capacity of 30 to 50GW2 . In addition to this, it is estimated that six fully operational tidal lagoons in the UK could have a combined installed capacity of 16GW which could generate approximately 30TWh of electricity per annum, equivalent to approximately 8% of UK electricity production

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