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Wales’s full-scale tidal energy generator receives EU grant

CTBR Staff Writer Published 03 May 2013

Wales’s first full-scale tidal energy generator has received an EU grant of £1.6m to fund its deployment in Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire.

Cardiff-based Tidal Energy has received funds for its DeltaStream tidal energy device. The funds have been granted by the European Regional Development Fund, which is administered by the Welsh European Funding Office for the Welsh Government.

Harbour trials of the equipment will be conducted in Milford Haven in the later part of this year, following which DeltaStream unit will be deployed in Ramsey Sound in Pembrokeshire in 2014. Once it is deployed, it will generate clean electricity for the homes of St Davids over a 12-month demonstration period.

The DeltaStream device, invented by Pembrokeshire engineer Richard Ayre, sits on the seabed under its own gravity, and comprises three independent 400kW turbines mounted on a triangular frame.

One 400kW turbine will be installed for the first deployment in Ramsey Sound in early 2014 in order to reduce operational and maintenance risk. The scaling up to the full scale device will be done later in 2014/2015.

Tidal Energy managing director Martin Murphy said that the company has all the necessary operating consents, have completed the grid work for the project, and are now preparing for the first at-sea tests.

"The remaining principal contractors are due to be placed shortly, we have recently invited tenders for fabrication and we are also expanding our team at our Cardiff headquarters.

"We want to assemble the device in Pembrokeshire, with a view to using it as an operational base. There are plentiful resources here in Wales for marine renewable development as well as a wealth of expertise. Tidal Energy Ltd is committed to leading the expansion of this industry and to the creation of green jobs," Murphy added.

Welsh renewable energy company Eco2, which has developed projects in biomass, wind and landfill gas, is supporting Tidal Energy in this project.

Eco2 chief executive David Williams said, "When we have completed our demonstration device testing of the DeltaStream device in Ramsey Sound, we have plans to install a 10MW array off St David's Head in Pembrokeshire. Our aim is to achieve a major market share of installed marine renewable capacity in the UK by 2020."

This grant follows a provision of an EU fund of £6.4m in 2011.