Spanish floating energy park off Scottish coast

Spanish company's pioneering energy solution

Image showing how tidal energy is harnessed. Credit: magallanesrenovables/

The world’s first floating tidal energy park will be pioneered by a Spanish company in Scotland.

Magallanes Renovables, a pioneering company based in Pontevedra, Galicia, has obtained permission from the British government to generate electricity using the tides off the coast of Scotland.

The UK Government authorised the Spanish firm to initiate the construction of the world’s first floating tidal energy park off the coast of Scotland. This decision follows a tender aimed at boosting the generation of tidal energy, marking a significant advancement in renewable energy technology.

Harnessing the sea’s power

Tidal energy operates by converting the ocean’s tidal movements into electricity, utilising blades similar to those found on wind turbines.

The concept, though not new, is gaining momentum as an efficient and predictable source of renewable energy.

The Rance River estuary in France hosted the first tidal energy plant in the 1970s, holding the record for the highest production until 2012 when South Korea’s Sihwa Lake facility took the lead.

Nonetheless, the UK emerges as a front-runner in tidal energy, generating half of Europe’s tidal power output.

The ATIR platform

Magallanes Renovables has been at the forefront of this innovative journey since 2017, when it constructed the ATIR platform. This 45-metre-long, 15-metre-deep vessel is equipped to convert the kinetic energy of sea tides into electrical power, successfully feeding into Scotland’s electricity grid.

The platform’s initial tests off the British coast have proven successful, with a total capacity of 2 MW, although software-limited to 1.5 MW.

By 2026, the company plans to deploy four ATIR platforms, generating 4.5 MW from the tides along the coasts of Scotland and Wales.

Company boss, Alejandro Marques de Magallanes, highlights tidal energy’s predictability: ‘the tides are the result of the gravitational force of the moon on the oceans. Since the movement of the moon is predictable, so are the tides.’

The future of tidal energy

Tidal movements, influenced by the moon’s gravitational pull, offer a consistent and forecastable source of energy. Unlike other renewables, tidal energy’s predictability allows for accurate planning of electricity production.

Magallanes added: ‘Tidal energy is an unstoppable flow that in many areas of our planet exceeds nine meters per second in intensity, although currently average speeds are around four meters per second.’

This characteristic distinguishes tidal energy as a uniquely reliable and sustainable power source, poised to lead a new global industry in renewable energy exploitation.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.