Pulse Tidal, the Sheffield based tidal power provider, has been awarded an Agreement for Lease by the Crown Estate for an area of seabed near to Lynmouth in Devon.
The company plans to deploy a 1.2MW tidal power generating machine – England’s largest – in 2014, following consultation, environmental studies and permitting.
Pulse chief executive Bob Smith says: “Since deploying our first demonstration device in 2009, the Pulse Team has made tremendous progress in developing our technology at a commercial scale. I am delighted that the Crown Estate has recognized this with the award of this AFL.”
“The chosen site off Lynmouth is a very attractive location for us with a great tidal resource and a nearby grid connection. It was the site for an earlier consented tidal power project so we already know a great deal about it. Lynmouth is also part of the South West Marine Energy Park, which provides access to local businesses and research facilities to provide an ideal environment for the development of our tidal power system.”
Pulse’s system, known as Pulse-Stream, operates in tidal currents, which move horizontal blades up and down to drive a generator. During operation, the system sits on the sea-bed and is fully submerged even in shallow water. However, for maintenance, the system can come to the surface without the need for cranes and complicated offshore vessels – making maintenance work very simple.
The company had previously considered a number of other UK locations for deployment of this first commercial-scale machine, but the imminent introduction of 5 ROCS revenue support for England & Wales, and creation of the Marine Energy Park, means that the South West is now the most attractive location for Pulse.
Johnny Gowdy, Director, Regen SW said “The Pulse-Stream project will be a splendid addition to the range of marine energy technologies being developed within the South West – we are delighted that Pulse Tidal has chosen the South West Marine Energy Park as a base to demonstrate its next generation technology. This could be the catalyst for a very exciting tidal stream programme which will link to the research being done within our regional universities and attract further technology developers and investors. Ultimately technologies such as Pulse-Stream could unlock the huge tidal stream energy potential of the Bristol Channel and other sites around the UK.”
Shallow water location favours Pulse device
The Pulse-Stream tidal power generator has a different design from that used by many competitors. This allows it to be deployed into very shallow water sites such as Lynmouth, while still generating commercially attractive power.
Says Pulse CTO Marc Paish “Tidal power is at an early stage of development and is hence more expensive than other forms of renewable energy. One of the key opportunities to reduce the cost of tidal power is scaling up the power output of each machine. Pulse-Stream has a big advantage here because a single machine can produce 3 – 4 times the power of other designs in any water depth.”
Marc goes on “Lynmouth is a great demonstration of this as it is relatively shallow – at only 18m – and yet Pulse-Stream can produce 1.2MW there. Such a high power output in very shallow water close to shore gives us the chance to significantly reduce the cost of the energy and to exploit the significant tidal energy resources available in places such as the Bristol Channel which are also close to areas of high energy demand.”
Local Engagement is a Key Priority
Securing the Agreement to Lease is the first step in the process of obtaining permission to deploy the Pulse-Stream machine at Lynmouth. Over the coming months, the Pulse team will be working with local authorities, businesses and communities, as well as environmental organisations and permitting authorities to ensure that a the Lynmouth tidal power project benefits as many people as possible and becomes a powerful demonstration of the benefits available through a Marine Energy Park.
“The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership welcomes Pulse Tidal to the South West Marine Energy Park and looks forward to working with them to make their project a success and to deliver jobs and business opportunities for the south west” Nicholas Ames – Heart of South West LEP
“We are delighted to see the potential return of tidal energy technology off the coast of North Devon. The lease award announced today is the start of the planning process; the council will be working closely with Pulse Tidal and local stakeholders to ensure that the project meets our objectives to support sustainable energy projects for the benefit of the North Devon economy”. Malcolm Prowse, Lead Member for Economy and Regeneration, North Devon Council
Offshore WIND staff, April 27, 2012; Image: pulsetidal