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Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group

Go with the Tide?

4th November 2011

The DeltaStream generator

The DeltaStream Generator

Go With The Tide?

          Though all forms of renewable energy are to be welcomed, few equal the potential offered by harnessing the power of the sea. This was the message given by Chris Williams, Development Director of Tidal Energy Limited, in his presentation to the recent meeting of Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group. Whilst winds vary, marine energy is totally predictable. The UK has huge resources. A number of trials are currently being carried out to facilitate their exploitation. Tidal Energy's DeltaSteam project based at Ramsey Sound is one of these.

          Chris explained the massive need for renewable energy. The effect of the continued burning of fossil fuels was to increase the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is resulting in global warming and inevitable climate change. It was, said Chris, vital to change the energy mix and reduce the damage to the planet. There were two potential sources of marine energy, wave power from the water's surface and tidal stream energy from the kinetic energy developed in the flow of the water.

          The DeltaStream project aims to harness the latter. It is totally predictable. The Carbon Trust calculates that 5% of our energy can be provided by this technology. Wales has two of the six best sites in the UK, in Angelsey and Pembrokeshire. As well as a significant resource Pembrokeshire has excellent grid connections and port facilities.

          The DeltaStream concept was conceived by Richard Ayre, a marine engineer from Little Haven in 2001 with funding from the National Parks to set up an experimental test rig in the Cleddau estuary. In 2008 further backing from Eco2 and Carbon Connections resulted in the development of the current full size device due to be put in the water next year. This will be able to generate over one megawatt of electricity enough to power up to 1000 homes. The rig itself is of triangular shape with rotating blades at each corner 3 generators each generating up to 400kw of electricity. Overall it is the size of a tennis court.

          Because of the inherent stability of the design it will rest on the seabed without the need for piling or any other support. It is anticipated that the engineering work will be carried out in Pembrokeshire and that the Pembroke Dock port facilities will be used as the departure point. A barge will need to be constructed to suspend the structure underneath for transportation.

          To achieve planning consent for this one year project the company had to show clear evidence that there would be no damage to the environment. A full environmental impact assessment was carried out. It was reported that no significant effects were expected on seabirds or marine mammals around the device at any time. However a 'listening device' will be used to record the 'clicks' used by cetaceans (porpoises, dolphins). This will provide essential information on their numbers and distribution within the vicinity of the site. Continuous environmental surveys will be undertaken throughout the project. It was essential that there should be no adverse effects on the grey seal and harbour porpoise populations.

          Furthermore in order to avoid even the slightest possibility of contamination biodegradable oil will be used for all moving parts of the generators.

          Detailed investigations and assessments have shown that both fishing or tourism should be in no way affected. It is anticipated that local employment opportunities will be enhanced by the need for local port facilities and steel fabrication skills.

          Chris stressed that this is purely a one year trial period at the end of which the device will be removed. The results shown will be used to assess the suitability of large scale developments as a contribution towards renewable energy sources. The DeltaStream is purely a research and development test site. There are no future commercial developments envisaged for the site. The extreme environmental sensitivity of the site make this most unlikely.

          The Chair thanked Chris for his absorbing and fascinating presentation.


Past Articles
30th September 2011How Green is my Valley?: A talk by Grenville Ham, Manager of The Green Valleys Project
23rd September 2011PSEEG's visit to Carew Mill with Marten Lewis of the Darwin Centre
5th August 2011The Manner of the Message: A talk by Neil Sefton on communication skills
24th June 2011The Work of the Darwin Centre: A talk by Marten Lewis, manager of the Darwin Centre
27th May 2011Electric Cars The Road Ahead?: The talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles
13th May 2011Are electric cars the way forward?: A talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles
22nd April 2011Sustainability in Action: A visit to the Science & Technology Park (Technium) in Pembroke Dock
1st April 2011A Revolution in Wind Energy?: A talk by Vaughan Griffiths from Quietrevolution, Pembroke Dock
25th February 2011Preparing for Floods: A talk by Richard Wickes of the Environment Agency
14th January 2011The Way Forward for Wind?: A talk by Steve Hack of Seren Energy
12th November 2010How Green is your Castle?: The National Trust & Global Warming
15th October 2010Challenge of the Rising Sea: The effects on the Pembrokeshire coastline
10th August 2010The beautiful Welsh coastline: Response to possible rising sea levels
18th June 2010Visit to Costain at Canaston Bridge: Not Costing the Earth
16th April 2010Feed in Tariffs: Power to the People
12th March 2010Heat Pumps & Photo Voltaic Panels: Prepare for the Goodlife
12th February 2010Parliamentary Candiates at Green Question Time in Saundersfoot
15th January 2010Weather & Climate: A Question of Energy
4th December 2009Sustainable Community Ventures: Regeneration in Pembrokeshire
13th November 2009Community Initiatives: Sustainable Wales leads by example
16th October 2009Climate Change Challenge for Candidates & Micro-generation with wind turbines
2nd October 2009A Visit to Castle Pill Wind Farm: Quiet blows the wind
11th September 2009Renewable Sustainable Energy: An Energy Survey for South East Pembrokeshire
10th July 2009A talk by Lorraine Dallmeier of Infinergy: Wind Power - Pembrokeshire's Potential
12th June 2009St. Oswald's, Jeffreyston - Pembrokeshire's Beacon of Sustainability
24th April 2009Solar Panels: Three Cheers for Sunny Pembrokeshire
13th March 2009Ashton Hayes Community Energy Reduction & Hot Water From the Sun
13th February 2009Could Pembrokeshire go carbon neutral?
14th November 2008Environment Wales to provide 'Start-Up' Funding for PSEEG
17th October 2008PSEEG to become a Registered Charity

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