Gulf Stream tidal energy to be studied

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Minesto has signed an agreement with Florida Atlantic University to examine the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of installing demonstration and commercial power plants in the Florida current.

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) houses the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC), a US research and testing centre aiming to accelerate commercial marine renewable energy recovery, with a preliminary focus on the Gulf Stream. By executing this MoU, Sweden’s Minesto and FAU aim to develop a partnership with cooperative mutual research, testing, and educational activities.

According to the US Department of Energy, the Gulf Stream can supply nearly 30 per cent of the power consumption in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, which is up to 163TWh electricity. In monetary value that’s equivalent to $15bn per year in sales of electricity.

Minesto will deploy its Deep Green tidal and ocean current power plant, which resembles an underwater kite and is based on a fundamentally new principle for electricity generation from tidal and ocean currents. Deep Green recently became the first known marine power plant to generate electricity from low velocity currents, which is seen as a breakthrough for marine energy.

‘SNMREC is preparing unique testing facilities located in the Florida Current, where Minesto has assessed the ocean current resource to be favourable for Deep Green”, Anders Jansson, CEO of Minesto said in a statement. “SNMREC are experienced in resource modelling, marine measurements, environmental assessments and regulatory framework helping Minesto to accelerate potential development in the US.’

According to Minesto, the potential in the Florida Current could be 4 to 6GW, and velocities in ocean currents are often in the range of between 1-2.5m/s, which is suitable for Deep Green.