Wales’ first full-scale tidal energy generator was unveiled today at Pembroke Port, as part of UK efforts to further its reputation as a world leader in sustainable tidal power.
Unveiled by Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones as part of the government’s plan for Low Carbon Transition Strategy, the 150-tonne DeltaStream device developed by tidal stream technology company Tidal Energy will be installed in Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire.
As the first private marine project to be fully developed in Wales, the device will be amongst the world’s first grid-connected demonstration devices to generate green, sustainable and predictable tidal power.
Martin Murphy, managing director of Tidal Energy, said the project is a milestone for the company and the industry as a whole, marking the first grid-connected freestanding tidal turbine in Wales.
“We have achieved a number of firsts with this project, including those relating to the environmental consents, the grid connection and the installation process – where the turbine and foundation are installed together,” he said.
“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. We remain committed to leading the expansion of this 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.”
Unlike other tidal designs currently being developed, the multiple patented DeltaStream device combines an innovative freestanding triangular base design with a state-of-the-art hydraulics system, which ensures the turbine freely turns to capture the best tidal flow and maximise power generation.
It also includes a number of design features to minimise any potential impact on the surrounding environment and is the first project to receive precautionary ‘deploy and monitor’ environmental consent in a designated Marine Special Area of Conservation.
The Welsh first minister said: “I’m delighted that Wales’ first full scale tidal stream energy generator has been supported with almost £8million from the European Regional Development Fund.
“This is a landmark project for Wales, which will not only help us to meet our sustainable energy ambitions, but will also provide significant opportunities for local people and businesses.”
The tidal energy market could prove lucrative for the UK, with the Department for Energy and Climate Change estimating that the country has around 50% of Europe’s tidal energy resource and could meet up to 20% of its electricity demand using wave and tidal technology.