In a world where researchers are constantly looking for alternate energy solutions, tidal energy is a major asset. Crashing waves and strong tides produce enormous amounts of energy and the UK, owing to its extensive coastlines, holds the perfect position to harness this energy.
In an attempt to lessen carbon-emissions in the UK, The first full-scale tidal generator was introduced in Wales. The device, intended to be installed in Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire, is in fact an underwater turbine mounted freely on a firm base. According to rising claims, it is said to be the world’s first demonstration device connected to the grid, consequently generating renewable and green tidal power.
This 400kW demonstration device can be installed in a few weeks and does not require ridiculously expensive drilling into the seabed. According to company representatives, this device exhibits features focused at minimizing hazardous impacts on the environment and will power 100 nearby homes. After trial period of 12-months, around nine tidal devices are to be installed off St Davids Head in Pembrokeshire to form an array generating 10 megawatt power. Tidal Energy’s (TEL) ‘DeltaStream device’ weighs about 150 tons, and has frame dimensions of 52ft by 66ft (16 meter by 20 meter).
With three separate horizontal axis turbines each having 49ft (15 metre) diameter rotor connected to a generator, and the entire assembly mounted on a common triangular frame, Cardiff-based Tidal Energy claims their device to be a giant leap in green technology.
According to Tidal Energy’s managing director Martin Murphy, ‘The imminent launch of DeltaStream, and the supply chain that now exists as a consequence of its development, marks the birth of the tidal industry in Wales.’ He further added ‘We remain committed to leading the expansion of the industry and to the creation of green jobs by building on the wealth of expertise present in the UK and the country’s plentiful resources.’
£8 million monetary funding for the project was granted to Tidal Energy by the European Regional Development Fund, and match-funded by majority shareholder Welsh renewables company Eco2. They are expected to join forces with TEL for further installation of the devices.
Renewable Energy Association chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: ‘Many of our ocean energy members are currently racing to deploy the first wave or tidal farm, with several of these types of devices instead of just one. When that happens the sector will move into mass production, costs will fall dramatically, and wave and tidal will be well on their way to becoming major players in the UK energy system.’
By 2035, the marine energy industry has been predicted to be worth £6.1 billion ($10.3 billion) to the UK economy, consequently creating over 20,000 employment opportunities.