Tidal power developer Atlantis has reached a major technical milestone for its flagship MeyGen project in northern Scotland, with the scheme now connected to the 33kV Ness of Quoys distribution network.

The connection follows the successful installation of one of the longest underground 33kV power export cables in the UK by the network operator, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc (SHEPD). It complies with the National Grid Code and has required over 25km of distribution network upgrades along with infrastructure upgrades at two substations.

When fully built out, the 400MW project is expected to generate enough predictable and emissions free electricity to power 175,000 Scottish homes. The first tidal turbines will be installed over the coming months and the project remains on track to deliver first power in the second half of 2016.

"The connection of our flagship MeyGen project to the SHEPD distribution network marks a huge technical major milestone for Atlantis and the tidal stream industry more broadly," commented Tim Cornelius, CEO of Atlantis. "It has involved years of hard work, persistence, perseverance and determination by our team and all of the contractors and consultants involved in the onshore work scope. We believe this is now the world’s largest energised grid connection of any commercial tidal stream array.

"We have made great progress over recent months at MeyGen on turbine and foundation preparation and we very much look forward to delivering first power to the grid later this year, which will be a huge event for our company and the global marine power industry."