February 18, 2006 The potential for using the power of the tides to generate electricity for homes and businesses in Wales is being taken a step further. With funding from the Welsh Assembly Government, tidal energy firm Marine Current Turbines will examine and identify locations around the Welsh coastline where its tidal stream technology could be suitable. The project is supported by the Welsh Development Agency’s Energy Office, which has worked closely with Marine Current Turbines to facilitate the development of this project in Wales.
Marine Current Turbines (MCT), which in December 2005 received consent to install a 1MW tidal stream device in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough and has successfully trialed a 300kW energy device off the north Devon coast for the past three years, is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts in tidal energy development.
MCT will lead the 18 month project and will work in tandem with the Cardiff office of PMSS Ltd, a leading environmental, health & safety and project development consultancy. The team will study the marine environment and tidal flows around the Welsh coastline, examine local navigation, connections to the electricity network and consider the engineering and financing issues associated with the commercial development of tidal stream energy.
Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines said: “The project will demonstrate how our tidal stream technology can contribute to Wales’s renewable energy mix.
Given our work in the Bristol Channel and in Northern Ireland over the past five years, I am confident that tidal stream energy will contribute to Wales’s sustainable energy targets within the next three years. We can provide Wales with clean, pollution free electricity from the tidal stream which is a reliable and predictable energy source”.
Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport in the Welsh Assembly Government said: “Wales is already playing a major role in renewable energy generation through a range of established renewable technologies. The development and exploitation of future-energy related technologies, including marine, tidal and wave, will not only add to our renewable mix and contribute to security of energy supply, but could create considerable economic development opportunities.’
Dr David Bean, Director of PMSS added: “The project and the subsequent development of tidal stream in Welsh waters has the very real potential for creating significant value for the Welsh economy, and we look forward to working with MCT on this exciting project. The territorial waters off Wales offer great potential for tidal stream technology, and an opportunity exists for well-sited demonstration projects to provide impetus to this new and emerging form of generation.”
Marine Current Turbines and PMSS plan to identify sites for potential development and ultimately progress at least one of these sites to install a 10MW tidal stream farm (an array). A 10MW tidal stream array would generate sufficient energy to meet the equivalent demand of approximately 7,000 homes.
The subsequent development of the array will be dependent on the outcome of a detailed environmental impact assessment, engineering studies, as well as consultations with local and national interests. The installation of the array will also require the necessary planning consents as well as further financial investment.
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