Construction can now begin on the land part of the Morlais project, which will be capable of powering more than 180,000 homes when operational.
Work on the offshore portion of the work, including deploying the energy-generating turbines into the sea, is dependent on Natural Resources Wales granting the scheme a Marine Licence.
Should that decision be made quickly, Morlais officials said construction on the site off Holy Island could begin in early 2022 on land and in 2023 offshore.
Morlais is run by Menter Môn, an Anglesey-based social enterprise. Menter Môn has been planning Morlais since 2013. Menter Môn already has a 45-year Crown Estate lease on the 35 sq km seabed that will become the home of Morlais, having secured that in 2014.
In October, Wales’s climate change minister Julie James said she was “minded” to grant permission for the scheme’s Transport and Works Act Order application. That opinion was made official in the formal approval letter on 10 December.
Morlais director Gerallt Llewelyn Jones noted that the decision came after “many years of hard work and consultation”.
“From day one our aim has been to make sure that this project brings local economic benefits in terms of jobs, training and supply chain opportunities,” he added later, echoing a previous statement in October. “Morlais is owned and run locally – this means we will ensure those benefits come right back into our local communities.”
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Dafydd Gruffydd, managing director of Menter Môn, said: “Morlais is an important project for us here on the island as well as the wider north Wales region. Not only will it secure long-term quality jobs and help develop local supply chains but it can also deliver training opportunities for our young people right here on their door step.
“The potential of Morlais isn’t just economic though – and we have become very aware of our impact on the planet. Both Westminster and Welsh governments have made it clear that carbon reduction is a priority. Tidal energy is low carbon, clean and reliable – our aim through Morlais is to play our part in tackling climate change and ensuring we leave a legacy that we’re proud of.”
WSP is the planning consultant on Morlais.
Funding for the scheme comes from the Wales European Funding Office, Isle of Anglesey County Council, North Wales Growth Deal and The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.