Environmental Aspects

If we can harness this tidal energy and convert to electricity through projects like ASTA, millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved.

Advantages of tidal power generation are:

  • Zero carbon electricity generation
  • Predictability – tidal currents are created by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun upon the world’s oceans, and can be accurately predicted hundreds of years into the future
  • The potential exists for tidal power to make a significant and cost-effective contribution to future energy

SGW recognises that the waters around Anglesey support diverse flora and fauna including dolphins, porpoises, seals and basking sharks, and bird populations of international importance. SGW is committed to minimise the environmental impact during the installation and operation of the ASTA project.

SGW commissioned an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which was compiled by a team of experts in marine mammals, fisheries, landscape, coastal processes, birds, benthic ecology, underwater noise and navigation. The EIA was a robust assessment of the potential environmental impacts of the Skerries project. The findings of the EIA are presented in the Environmental Statement which was submitted along with the consent application to the Welsh Assembly Government. A non-technical summary of the Environmental Statement can be found in the Downloads section and a full copy is available on request.

MCT has operated SeaGen S 1.2MW device in Strangford Lough since 2008 which was subject to a comprehensive 3 year post installation environmental monitoring programme (EMP). The EMP demonstrated that the device had no significant impact upon the flora and fauna of Strangford Lough (a copy of the report can be found in the download section).

SGW understands that there are knowledge gaps scaling up from a single 1.2 MW device to a 10MW array of five 2 MW devices. SGW continues to work with the Welsh Regulators to apply the lessons learnt from Strangford to the Skerries Project and to fill in these data gaps. To this end, SGW has implemented a monitoring study to understand the environmental baseline before installation of the tidal array, this will allow comparison after the array has been installed and inform on the impact of the project upon the environment.

Some of the possible effects of an array of devices are still unknown. Therefore an environmental monitoring programme will be established at the Skerries to bridge the knowledge gap between a single device deployment at Strangford and the Skerries array.

Skerries Science Group consisting of the Natural Resources Wales (NRW), scientists and representatives from Welsh Universities and a range of stakeholders has been established to oversee the environmental monitoring and data analysis, and to provide advice to NRW. The Science Group has an independent Chair, Roger Thomas, former CEO of Countryside Council of Wales and the Environment Agency Wales. Roger lives on Anglesey and knows the area well.