Consenting authority Natural Resources Wales has approved a marine licence application for the first commercial installation and operation of the world's first low-velocity tidal energy project - a 0.5 megawatt (MW) tidal power plant in Holyhead Deep, 6.5 km off the coast of Anglesey, by tidal energy developer Minesto.

A marine license is required for all kinds of offshore construction work and deposits in UK waters. Thus, being awarded a first consent in North Wales is a milestone achievement for Minesto in the journey towards commercialisation of its ' Deep Green' sea kite technology.

The unique Deep Green device produces electricity from slow tidal and ocean currents by sweeping a turbine across a large area at a speed several times the actual speed of the underwater current. Holyhead Deep matches all the site requirements by providing low-flow tidal velocities (1.5–2 m/s mean peak flow) at a depth of 80–100 metres.

An in-depth environmental impact assessment (EIA) carried out by Xodus Group prior to approval concluded the impact of the tidal power plant to be ‘not significant’. The EIA considered the potential impacts on fisheries, marine mammals, sea birds, marine archaeology and cultural heritage as well as shipping and navigation.

Installation in the southern corner of Holyhead Deep is planned for this year and will include a single Deep Green device, seabed foundation and a buoy moored at surface. The site has been carefully selected to maintain separation from shipping lanes and to minimise the impact on other sea users.

Minesto holds an Agreement for Lease from the Crown Estate to install a 10MW array comprising 20 power plants, once the technology is proved in this first commercial-scale installation.