THE ANGLESEY coastline is to be one of the world’s first sites on which a new range of underwater power plants will be built.

Swedish marine energy technology developer Minesto announced today (September 20) that their Dragon Class power plants will be constructed at Holyhead Deep, off the west coast of Anglesey.

The Dragon Class will be an upgrade on the company’s ‘Deep Green’ range, a ‘flying’ underwater plant which generates electricity from low-flow tidal streams and ocean currents by a technique akin to a kite blowing in the wind.

Featuring increased performance and decreased manufacturing costs, the Dragon Class will be delivered and installed in all of Minesto’s ongoing projects as well as in the build-out of the company’s first array projects.

Martin Edlund, chief executive of Minesto, said he hopes the power plant is installed at Holyhead Deep, the world's first low-flow tidal stream project, by the ‘third quarter’ of 2022.

He said: “The immediate next step is to build and install a power plant with a rated power of about 1.2 megawatts (MW). That’s something that will go into the water next year.

“It’s obvious that we need to be really careful with the local environment, but on the other hand, climate change is not slowing down. We need to get these systems deployed and expanded; that’s the classic dilemma that we’re facing.

“This system that goes in next summer is the first unit that has the right performance characteristics to be the first of an array of up 10 megawatts - the site potential is significantly larger.

“That’s probably a good step for new technology, with eight to 10 units installed then for years ahead beyond 2022.”

North Wales Chronicle: Minesto's Assembly Hall, Holyhead. Photo: MinestoMinesto's Assembly Hall, Holyhead. Photo: Minesto

Using extensive CFD (computational fluid dynamics) modelling, ocean scale model testing and operational data from the grid-connected DG100 units in Vestmannasund, Minesto’s technology development team has been able to improve the energy conversion and, at the same time, refine the power plant by reducing the number of power plant subsystems and components.

With the Dragon Class, Minesto also strengthens its patent portfolio as innovations related to the upgraded design have resulted in new patent applications.

And Mr Edlund added that he is keen to make use of a picturesque area which has prided itself on leading the battle against climate change, not least through its ‘Energy Island’ project which launched in 2010.

He said: “The label ‘Energy Island’ still remains. With a very good port in Holyhead, with the infrastructure being planned, and with very persistent and strong backing from the Welsh Government, we have the best opportunity to push this technology forward and give the world a new renewable energy source.

“We’re not using the tides; they sweep the coastline day in day out. We need more renewable energy, so let’s get out there and make use of it.

“It’s a fantastic area; its so beautiful over the coastline, and I think a benefit of what we’re doing is that it will not ruin the coastline.

“Everything is submerged – I think the highest point is 12 to 20 metres below average surface level. When it ‘flies’, it’s significantly lower, so you will safely be able to have marine traffic at the surface.”

Minesto are also working on a similar tidal project on two sites in the Faroe Islands. To find out more, visit: