Wilson gives boost to tidal power

Tidal energy could move from laboratory to large scale power generation, with the help of £1.1 million of new funding announced by Energy Minister Brian Wilson.

Tidal energy could move from laboratory to large scale power generation, with the help of £1.1 million of new funding announced today by Energy Minister Brian Wilson.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is to provide £1.1 million of Renewables Technology funding to support the development of a full size ‘Stingray’ device prototype, which generates electricity from the oscillatory movement of hydroplanes driven by flowing tidal current. This transforms the kinetic energy of moving water into hydraulic power, which turns an electrical generator using a hydraulic motor.

A farm of such devices would convert tidal movement into electricity on a commercial scale.

Technological development and manufacture of the Stingray device by Business Engineering Ltd will take place in Wallsend, Tyneside, while the proposed location for its operation is Shetland. The machine will be located on the seabed reducing the need to protect it from stormy weather.

‘I am determined that we should take a lead in the development of this new technology,’ said Mr Wilson. ‘All too often, clever British ideas have not manifested into the manufacture and finally, the distribution, of the final product. I am determined to not let this happen again. That is why, on top of the Government’s initial money to research the feasibility of the concept, I have today allocated this grant to see the project through to completion.’

The government expects to create a £1 billion market for renewable energy by 2010. The main driver for this will be the renewables obligation, which will put an obligation on electricity suppliers to supply ten per cent of their electricity from renewable sources. In addition a £260 million support programme has been provided over the next three years.