Tidal energy project

Pulse Tidal is to develop a prototype tidal stream generator that will be tested in the Humber Estuary near Grimsby. The energy secretary, John Hutton, has granted planning permission and the government has provided financial backing of £878,000.

The prototype will work by extracting energy from underwater currents, which move a pair of 11 metre hydrofoils up and down to generate an electrical current.

It is capable of generating up to 0.15 megawatts when in water and will be one of the first tidal machines to supply the national grid. If successful it may be used to develop larger one-megawatt units to deploy in arrays. Each array would generate up to 100 megawatts each, enough to power the equivalent of 70,000 homes.

The prototype will be positioned off the south bank of the Humber at Upper Burcom near Stallinborough. The government funding aims to support the UK’s presence as a world leader in marine renewable technology.

Hutton said: ‘I have made clear our commitments to renewable energy and to marine technologies. We will be doubling the support available for those technologies under the Renewables Obligation. This kind of tidal project, if proven, will go some way to helping the UK meet its ambitious targets for clean, green energy.’