The funding will enable the unique £11m DeltaStream device, which will generate clean electricity from the tides off the West Wales coast, to be manufactured ready for installation in 2012.
Backed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, the funding provides a vital source of support for Welsh marine renewable energy company, Tidal Energy, in the development of a low-impact, sustainable source of electricity and a long-term business opportunity for Wales.
Announcing the funding, the First Minister said:
“Investing in renewable energy technologies is vital to build a low carbon economy and help drive forward Wales’ ambitions to become a more sustainable nation. We are committed to promoting the generation of clean electricity while protecting our natural environment.
“There is huge potential for marine energy in Wales and projects like DeltaStream will not only help meet our energy targets, but will provide further opportunities for local communities as well as businesses, creating both environmental and economic benefits.”
Invented by Pembrokeshire engineer Richard Ayre - following initial EU funding in 2009 - DeltaStream sits on the sea bed without foundations and uses tidal currents to generate clean electricity. It has been designed to minimise impact on the environment.
The device will be sited in Ramsay Sound, Pembrokeshire, and during the 12-month demonstration period will provide a sustainable source of electricity to the people of St Davids.
Consent for the DeltaStream demonstration project was granted by the Welsh Government and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in March this year.
Managing Director of Tidal Energy Ltd, Martin Murphy, said:
“This funding announcement comes at a pivotal stage in the project, and will provide Wales with a unique opportunity to develop and demonstrate a home-grown tidal stream technology.
"The next step for the scheme will be the manufacture of the DeltaStream device, ready for installation in 2012. Procurement for the fabrication and installation of DeltaStream is underway and the project will create a significant number of green jobs.”
Tidal Energy Ltd is backed by Cardiff based renewable energy company Eco2 Ltd. Eco2 has been recognised as being among Wales’ largest renewable development companies and has developed projects in biomass, wind and landfill gas. Its shareholders have provided £4.5 million of funds for the development and proving of the DeltaStream device.
Chief Executive of Eco2 Ltd, David Williams, said:
“This funding decision is crucial to the success of the project. We believe the DeltaStream device to be a world class product which combines innovative blade design with portability and high efficiency."