Small British Company Bets on Tidal Power  

Posted by Big Gav in , , , ,

The New York Times reports that British tidal power company MCT has raised a fresh round of money to develop their technology - Small British Company Bets on Tidal Power.

A British company with a device that creates energy from tidal movement announced late last month that it had received $5.6 million in financing that it hopes will help it reach larger commercial production within two years.

With this most recent injection of cash, which came from Carbon Trust Investments, Bank Invest, EDF Energy and High Tide, as well as private and government investors, Marine Current Turbines has raised roughly $48 million. The company is trying to raise further cash to help it build a five megawatt array based on its “SeaGen” prototype.

The SeaGen is akin to a submerged windmill that is driven by flowing water, and the Bristol-based company already has a small-scale operation established in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, where it has been generating 1.2 megawatts of electricity since April 2008.

(It sells that output to ESB Independent Energy, a private utility, under a power purchase agreement.)

Considering SeaGen’s development costs, its makers reckon the device generates electricity at about $5.5 million per megawatt installed — or roughly double the cost of offshore wind energy.

They consider that a victory.

“How many millions of kilowatts of wind are installed already, and here I’ve got one machine and I’m one small firm and I’m only twice the price?” said Martin Wright, the company’s managing director. “We haven’t even started going down the cost-reduction curve yet.”

Cleantech Scotland reports that some large wind power projects have been approved - Moray Firth And Firth Of Forth Offshore Wind Schemes Approved.
We welcome the news that the Crown Estate – The owner of the UK’s coastal seabeds – has granted offshore wind rights for energy companies in the Moray Firth and the Firth of Forth. This is a major renewable energy scheme and will comprise of more than 950 offshore wind turbines, capable of powering over three million homes and generating 4.7GW of electricity.

The move comes a mere matter of days after Holyrood’s approval of the highly controversial Beauly-Denny Power Line. The new schemes are expected to create thousands of new jobs in research, engineering, manufacturing, installation and operations. The Firth of Forth will be developed by SeaGreen Wind Energy, Airtricity and Fluor. The Moray Firth will be developed by EDP Renewables and SeaEnergy.

Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, said: “This is one of the strongest signals yet that Scotland is right at the heart of the UK’s commitment to a low carbon, energy secure, prosperous future. But it’s also great news for the manufacturing industry and supply chain in Scotland.”

Recharge News has a report on the transmission line mentioned above - Scottish Government approves key transmission line project.
The Scottish government has approved the highly controversial Beauly-Denny electrical transmission line, seen by many as critical to the future of Scotland’s renewables industry.

The decision comes more than four years after ScottishPower and Scottish and Southern Energy first applied to upgrade the line.

The £320m ($512.6m) line will stretch 137 miles across picturesque wilderness. It received more than 18,000 public objections during its consultation – the most in any public enquiry since Scotland devolved from Westminster.

Proponents of the line say it holds the key to linking Scotland’s wind, wave and tidal resources in the north to its population centres in the south.

UK wind industry body British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) welcomes the decision, calling it a “vitally important step forward in delivering the UK’s 2020 renewable target.”

BWEA head of grid Guy Nicholson says the decision is “the first step in building a 21st century grid system capable of connecting decentralised green energy throughout the UK”.

Interest in wind and tidal power is also high south of the border in Cumbria - the North west regional development agency reports - Cumbria’s huge renewable energy potential revealed.
The Scope for Renewable Energy in Cumbria has been written by former Government energy adviser and environmental scientist Sir Martin Holdgate on behalf of Cumbria Vision's Renewable Energy Panel. It is believed to be the first study in Britain to identify the economic opportunities arising from renewable energy development at a county level.

It says Cumbria is poised to meet a third of its total energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, and double that by 2050. By 2050 the County could become a significant exporter of renewable energy with 5.5gigawatts** (5.5GW) of installed capacity, and meet the energy needs of over 300,000 people through a vibrant mix of wind, hydro, tidal, solar, geothermal and biomass. In turn this could create and safeguard in the region of 7,000 jobs and bring a significant boost to businesses and investors. Sir Martin stresses these impressive figures can be achieved without damaging Cumbria’s internationally-prized landscape, which is the major draw for the 16 million visitors who flock to the County each year. ...

The study predicts energy outputs and economic impact of seven renewable energy sources and sets them against the timescales of 2010, 2020 and 2050. The 2050 scenario sees Cumbria generating enough wind energy to meet the needs of 300,000 people – mostly from offshore because the international importance of the Cumbrian landscape limits opportunities on land. However, this massive expansion would only support in the region of 500 jobs unless turbine manufacture can be based in the County, in turn helping to revitalise West Cumbria’s traditional manufacturing sector. Tidal power also has huge potential, with a Solway Barrage in theory producing only slightly less than the much-publicised Severn Barrage, but sharing the same massive environmental challenges. Modest tidal schemes in the Solway, Duddon Estuary and Morecambe Bay not only have potential to produce more energy than onshore wind but bring much-needed improved communications links along Cumbria’s west coast.


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