World first Anglesey 'sea kite' project in licence bid

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image copyrightMinesto

A £25m marine energy project has submitted its bid for a licence for a scheme which would be the first of its kind in the world.

Swedish-based Minesto has applied to fix its underwater energy 'kites' in the sea off Holyhead on Anglesey.

It is part of plans for a 10MW underwater power plant, supplying the power needs of about 8,000 households.

A six-week consultation with Natural Resources Wales for a licence is now under way.

The scheme secured £11m in European Regional Development Funds in 2015, administered through the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO).

Developers said it would be the first full-scale operation of its kind in the world, following quarter-scale ocean testing off Northern Ireland.

The technology uses tidal currents to force water through a turbine as the underwater kites "fly" through the sea.

image copyrightMinesto

The initial installation in 100m (328ft) of water at Holyhead Deep will deliver a 0.5MW power plant, with more kites added over the months, until the 10MW site is fully operational.

Minesto said it remained "fully committed" to the project and developing a base in north Wales, despite the vote backing Brexit in June.

"During the period when Britain negotiates the conditions for leaving the EU, the question marks for every overseas business looking to invest in the UK will gradually be answered," said chief executive, Dr Martin Edlund.

"What we do know now is that our financial support from WEFO remains in place.

"This EU-funded project has already seen several new jobs created in Holyhead and Minesto is fully committed to develop our first tidal energy array and to build our future assembly facilities in north Wales."

The company hopes the first part of the project will be in place by 2017, if permission is granted for the marine licence.

media captionThe site will be in the southern corner of Holyhead Deep, separate from shipping lanes

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