Written evidence submitted by Morlais (REW0020)



Submission by Morlais to the Welsh Affairs Committee


This submission is submitted by John Idris Jones on behalf of the Morlais Project Team in response to the Welsh Affairs Committee call for evidence on renewable  power.

Morlais is a renewable energy project associated with tidal stream energy development, set up by Menter Môn.

Menter Môn is a third sector not-for-profit local development company rooted in North West Wales, which has a track record of successful delivery of projects in Anglesey and the wider North West Wales area – supporting communities in their aspirations through local development projects and economic and environmental projects.

In addition to the Morlais Project, Menter Mon is also pursuing the opportunity to develop a low Carbon Hydrogen Hub at Holyhead. The development of the Hydrogen Hub will depend critically on:

-          UK Government policy supporting the development of a market for Hydrogen

-          Support from Welsh Government to develop the initial phase of the project

-          the Government needing to build the trust and confidence of potential  consumers of Hydrogen (eg Transport, heating etc) to invest in new technology and

-          Government putting in place the necessary support to allow infrastructure to be built for Manufacturing and transporting Hydrogen


Morlais is a tidal stream energy development project. It is about enabling the development of the tidal stream marine energy sector off the coast of Anglesey. It will put in place a consented region of sea together with grid connection to the local and national electricity transmission system. This will enable technology and project developers to locate their machines in the water off Anglesey and enable the development of a tidal stream industry in North West Wales.

The management by Menter Môn of the Morlais Tidal Demonstration Zone, a 35 square kilometer area off the coast of Anglesey will ensure:


Morlais and the tidal stream sector has the potential to support the development of local economy in North West Wales and contribute significantly to the economic levelling up agenda.  

We are currently in the process of obtaining regulatory and planning approvals, and a grid connection agreement for up to 240MW of deployed capacity. This part of the process will be completed and the necessary grid connection built by 2023.

We believe that tidal stream energy has a significant role to play in delivering the UK’s Net Zero commitment. There is strong evidence that the industry can deliver a Levellised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of £90/MWh in the 2030s when 1 GW of capacity is deployed, with further reductions in cost possible beyond that.

In addition the industry can make a strong contribution to levelling up the economy in Wales by promoting investment and jobs in peripheral coastal areas. This case is strengthened by the high UK content achievable with tidal stream energy projects, in contrast to some other technologies.

In order to achieve these positive outcomes, we believe Government action is needed in a number of key areas:


In addition we believe that there should be close co-operation between Cardiff and Westminster for measures to accelerate deployment of tidal stream generation.


Yours sincerely





John Idris Jones

Dr John Idris Jones

   Project Director













Detailed response to call for evidence


       As Morlais is a developer of a tidal stream Demonstration Zone we have restricted our comments to the tidal stream industry only.


The tidal stream industry is at an early stage of development, but has the potential to deliver GWs of predictable low carbon generation in the 2030s. Therefore the key need of the industry is suitable revenue support mechanisms to encourage early deployment of tidal stream devices. This will be crucial in reducing industry costs and making it cost-competitive in the 2030s.


The industry support needs to use multiple mechanisms including:


Contracts for Difference


This requires from the UK Government:



In response to a challenge from the UK government, the industry has developed a proposal for the creation of an Innovation Power Purchase Agreement (IPPA) that would allow early stage technology developers to attract investors to commercialise the technology.


The main points are as follows:



In addition to the CfD and IPPA it is important that there is continuing support for innovation throughout the supply chain to encourage early deployment and cost reduction in tidal stream energy. Therefore marine renewables need to remain a priority for UK Research and Innovation support both in developing new technologies and processes, and in confirming its environmental sustainability.


In addition the UK Government needs to be prepared to act to remove other barriers to deployment such as consenting issues, decommissioning bonds and limited capacity on the electrical grid including both the Distribution and Transmission Networks.


















February 2021