MeyGen Tidal Energy Project, Phase 1

RPS provided environmental and engineering support in the Pentland Firth throughout the development of the pre-consent phases of the MeyGen tidal array development.

Our team designed and coordinated a two-year programme of bird and marine mammal baseline surveys in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth. As part of the survey we worked alongside Ecologic UK to trial acoustic marine mammal survey techniques during the baseline survey period and worked closely with key stakeholders, Marine Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), to develop and adapt the survey scope throughout the survey period.

Services we delivered include environmental constraints mapping to assist in site selection (offshore and onshore); geohazards/geological desk study and the design; management and execution of boat-based and shore-based bird and marine mammal surveys.

Key details

Project name
MeyGen Tidal Energy Project, Phase 1

Client
Atlantis Resources Corporation

Location
Pentland Firth, Scotland

Services provided

  • Environmental constraints mapping
  • Geological desk study
  • Bird and marine mammal surveys

Challenge

Typically, site selection, engineering design, and consent for marine renewable infrastructure projects require collection of local data. In the Pentland First, a key challenge in undertaking survey works in such a remote location in the north of Scotland was the potential for significant weather down time.

And while balancing project demands with the extreme tidal conditions on site it became clear that the transect through the site needed modifying as the traditional shape for undertaking the survey wasn’t possible as the vessel was unable to hold station in the conditions.

MeyGen Tidal Energy Project, Phase 1 - project image (shutterstock_1129475888).jpg

Solution

We reduced significant weather downtime to one day lost using a local vessel and local surveyors, and as soon as the need to modify the transect through the site was identified, we designed an alternative methodology. This was quickly presented to the regulator and their advisors (Marine Scotland and SNH) to ensure the new transect was agreed before the next survey was to be undertaken, and there were no objections and therefore delays when the assessment was later finalised and presented to the regulator.

RPS also supported the EIA process delivering ornithology and marine mammal data analysis and technical advisory services. We developed bespoke modelling tools to assess the risk of collision to birds with the tidal turbines, and worked with Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) to assess the risk of collision to marine mammals.

Project statistics

398MW
Potential capacity of tidal stream electricity generated.
1st
tidal energy array installed as part of the Pentland Firth and Orkney Leasing Round.
Largest globally
planned tidal stream project currently.
Only
commercial multi-turbine array to have commenced construction currently.

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