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‘Very promising’: Minesto launches extended tidal energy plan for Faroe Islands

Marine energy developer Minesto has launched a “detailed plan for large-scale buildout of tidal energy arrays” in the Faroe Islands, according to an announcement from Minesto and Faroese utility SEV. The plan reportedly includes four new verified sites that would supply 40 percent of the Faroe Islands’ growing electricity consumption, enabling the island nation “to reach its policy goal of 100 pc. renewable energy by 2030.”

Together with SEV, Minesto has presented the plan to a wide range of policy and local community stakeholders including the Prime Minister and Minister of Environment, Industry and Trade, the announcement read, adding that “it has been received very positively.”

The so-called large-scale buildout plan sets out a stepwise installation of tidal kite arrays, each with 20-40 MW installed capacity, at four verified locations, we’re told. In addition to Minesto’s existing grid-connected site in Vestmannasund, the company points out Hestfjørður, Leirvíksfjørður, Skopunarfjørður and Svínoyarfjørður as ideal arrays. With a total capacity of 120 MW tidal energy, generating an estimated 350 GWh per year, the arrays would supply 40 pc. of the Faroe Islands’ growing electricity consumption, it was further stated.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome of the joint presentation tour together with SEV, and the interest and positive response of our build-out plan,” Minesto CEO Martin Edlund was quoted as saying. “In our dialogue with the Faroese community, all key aspects of full integration of Minesto’s tidal technology into the islands’ energy system have been covered. This includes environmental permitting, legislation for sea-bed access, local partnerships regarding port-access, manufacturing, and funding.”

During 2022, the first step is to expand the existing grid-connected site in Vestmannasund, establishing a mini array with three systems at a total installed capacity of 1.4 MW, the statement added. “The second step, planning and permitting ongoing, is a 10 MW array in Hestfjørður, with direct electricity distribution to nearby capital Tórshavn. After that further buildout of Hestfjørður will follow, as well as stepwise buildout of Leirviksfjørður, Skopunarfjørður and Svinoyarfjørður. In total, this makes it possible to deliver a cost-effective path to 100 pc. renewable energy by 2030.”

‘Very promising’

As nations seek to secure clean, reliable, and independent energy systems, a rising need for complementary components such as energy storage and predictable production of energy comes into play. In this context, the Faroe Islands is believed to have one of the world’s most ambitious schemes for ‘green transition’, in which tidal energy can play a critical part to counter the seasonal variations and unpredictability of wind and solar.

“If we can unlock the potential of tidal energy in the Faroe Islands, in both economic and technical terms, to deliver predictable energy to the Faroese energy system, it can disrupt the energy mix in the islands,” said Terji Nielsen, head of SEVs R&D department. “A diversified renewable energy mix, including tidal energy, can lower the total installed capacity and the need for energy storage.” 

Furthermore, the announcement pointed out, the phase shift of the tidal flows in the different fjords provides valuable flexibility and a continuous supply of electricity into the grid, significantly reducing the investment.

“As we’re in the forefront of creating a completely new industry, where we intend to add predictable tidal energy to the global energy mix, we’re thrilled to support the Faroe Islands in their explorative and ambitious journey towards a balanced energy system”, said Mr. Edlund said.

Hákun Djurhuus, CEO of SEV, added: “We’re a small country, but we’re a complete country. We are small scale but full scale. We can lead the way also for other island and coastal communities. We are looking forward to this journey together, still a lot of work remains, but very promising.”


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