Crown Estate Approves Three Tidal Projects

In mid-November the Crown Estate, which administers land and offshore development permits in the UK,  awarded three new leases to tidal energy projects.

Isle of Wight Council has secured a lease for its Solent Ocean Energy Centre (SOEC) off St. Catherine’s Point. The new Centre will enable technology developers to test  tidal current turbines. Meanwhile Scotrenewables, an Orkney-based tidal device developer, has secured a lease for a 30 MW tidal array in Lashy Sound, which will enable Scotrenewables to move their technology from prototype to commercial status. Both projects still require approvals from regional authorities to proceed.

The last project is by a Swedish company, Minesto, which has won approval to test its ocean current device in Strangford Lough, northern Ireland. The Minesto technology, called “Deep Green” is one of the few current technologies, which is designed to operate in relatively slow tidal and ocean currents. The Minesto device looks like an underwater kite, comprised of a wing and turbine, which are tethered to the seabed and are designed to move in a figure-of-8 shape.

Minesto has already tested 1:10-scale models in the open ocean at the beginning of 2012. The new approval from the Crown Estate will enable them to test a 1:4-scale 2 kW prototype device in the open ocean for up to 2 years.  The company claims that its turbine can operate in a wide area of the sea, service and maintenance should be cost effective and thus unit electricity costs should be low and competitive with existing power generation technologies.

These three sites bring the number of wave and tidal sites in the UK, either in operation or under development, to 41.