Renewable energy advocates celebrate another victory this week as officials launched the world’s first large-scale tidal energy farm off the coast of Scotland. The MeyGen tidal stream project led by Edinburgh-based Atlantis Resources will be comprised of four 49-foot-tall turbines which harness energy from the ocean’s movement to produce electricity free from greenhouse gas emissions. The project promises to eventually generate enough electricity to power 175,000 homes throughout the country, a huge leap forward for renewable energy and the job market in Scotland.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the first of four turbines at a ceremony outside Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. This turbine, just like the others that will follow, measures 49 feet tall, with blades 52 feet in diameter. Each turbine weighs nearly 220 tons and has a capacity of 1.5 megawatts. The turbines will all be installed off the northern coast of Scotland between Caithness and Orkney.

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Related: Atlantis announces funding for world’s largest tidal energy project in Scotland

So far, the Scottish government has approved and funded the massive tidal energy project to the tune of $30 million. The first four turbines are simply the first phase of the project, which Atlantis Resources hopes will eventually be expanded to 269 turbines with a cumulative capacity of 398MW, or the equivalent amount of electricity used by 175,000 homes per year. The project aims to reach maximum capacity in the early 2020s.

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“I am incredibly proud of Scotland’s role in leading the way in tackling climate change and investment in marine renewables is a hugely important part of this,” said the First Minister at the opening ceremony. “MeyGen is set to invigorate the marine renewables industry in Scotland and provide vital jobs for a skilled workforce, retaining valuable offshore expertise here in Scotland that would otherwise be lost overseas.”

Via The Guardian

Images via MeyGen