Wraps off Welsh tidal generator

Wales’ first industrial-scale tidal generator has been unveiled.

Technology developer Tidal Energy's 400kV DeltaStream device weighs 150 tonnes and will stand 16 metres long and 20 metres tall on the seabed.

It will be deployed in Ramsey Sound, off Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales, for 12 months' testing as the first installation in a planned 10MW commercial array at the site.

The demonstrator, built on a triangular gravity foundation designed to be fitted with up to three turbines, is the first private marine project to be fully developed in Wales.

"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," says the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones.

Tidal Energy managing director Martin Murphy adds: “This is a significant milestone for us as a company and for the industry as a whole.

“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.”

After trials off St Davids Head in Pembrokeshire, Tidal Energy and partner Eco2 aim to install nine more devices in the sound.

Eco2 chief executive David Williams says: “The St Davids Head project will serve to further prove the commercial viability of DeltaStream and marine renewable energy as a whole. The device has excellent export potential for deployment in high-energy tidal sites around the world, and we intend to harness this tidal potential.”

The DeltaStream pilot was backed with £8m ($13.4m) from the European Regional Development Fund.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change calculates that the UK, which is estimated to have half of Europe’s marine renewables resource, could meet up to 20% of electricity demand using wave and tidal technology.