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Wales moves one step closer to capturing tidal energy potential
A unique project that will develop innovative technology to test clean electricity generation from the tides off the West Wales coast has received the necessary consents from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Welsh Assembly Government, Environment Minister, Jane Davidson announced yesterday.
The consents will allow Tidal Energy Ltd’s device, to provide a sustainable source of electricity to the people of St David’s during its 12 month test period, and will see the project powering around 1,000 homes. The project has received more than £500,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.
The 1.2MW tidal energy demonstration project which will be located at Ramsey Sound off Pembrokeshire will be the first of its kind in Wales.
The technology for the project is due to be assembled locally in order to provide skilled jobs and a welcome boost for the local economy. The device has been specifically designed to be sensitive to the local environment.
Speaking about the announcement, the Minister said:
“Our energy policy statement, A Low Carbon Revolution, outlines that Wales has the potential to produce nearly twice the amount of electricity it currently uses, through wholly renewable sources by 2025.
"Developing and investing in renewable technologies such as ‘DeltaStream’ is vital if we are to meet our energy targets and drive forward Wales’ ambitions to become a more sustainable nation. Today’s announcement takes us a step closer to the sustainable delivery of marine energy in Wales.
“This project shows our commitment to getting pre-commercial devices into the water, so that their performance can be monitored. This will help to move the industry along and support the development of much needed field data. It demonstrates Wales’ commitment to leading the way in producing clean, renewable energy for the benefit of our communities and for Wales’ beautiful environment.”
Martin Murphy, Managing Director of Tidal Energy Ltd said:
“This is tremendous news for Tidal Energy Ltd, for Pembrokeshire and for Wales as a whole. We have taken a great stride forward today, which will enable us to deploy our first full-scale DeltaStream device in Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire in early 2012.
“We are grateful for the support and positive engagement of the community in Pembrokeshire and the consultees involved in the consenting process.
“Following a successful 12 month technical and environmental test of the device, we will look to develop a pre-commercial array in 2014. This is the first consented tidal stream project in Welsh waters and we are honoured to be at the forefront of the tidal energy industry in Wales.”
The announcement follows the recent publication of the Welsh Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework which provides a unique illustrative tool which maps the marine energy environment around the coast of Wales providing an evidence base for use by developers and the wider marine sector.
The findings of the Framework show that even when the various environmental and technological constraints are taken into account, there is still the potential for Welsh waters to produce enough energy to power up to two million homes per year.