Hydropower, Solar

British Government Funds Tidal Generator

The British Government will provide funding of US$2 million towards a prototype tidal power generator.

LONDON, England, UK, 2002-01-22 [SolarAccess.com] The Stingray program, developed by Engineering Business Ltd, 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. Energy minister Brian Wilson says the new funding will come through his Department of Trade & Industry to support the development of a full size prototype where a farm of underwater Stingray devices would convert tidal movement into electricity on a commercial scale. Technological development and manufacturing of the device will proceed in Wallsend, Tyneside, by EBL, while the proposed location for operation is in the Shetlands, where the machine will be located on the seabed in order to reduce the need to protect from stormy weather. As part of the program, EBL will work with a number of universities, including Newcastle, Durham, Glasgow and Robert Gordon inn Aberdeen. “Tidal energy has great potential but little has happened until now,” says Wilson. “The challenge has always been harnessing this energy economically in rough conditions.” “I am determined that we should take a lead in the development of this new technology,” he adds. “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. On top of the government’s initial money to research the feasibility of the concept, I have today allocated this extra grant to see the project through to completion.” Wilson is pleased that the new technology offers the opportunity to build a large new industry in northeastern Britain. “Potential for manufacturing is an important part of the case in favour of developing our renewables industry,” he says. “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 a requirement on electricity suppliers to supply ten per cent of their electricity from renewable sources.” In addition, the federal government has announced a £260 million support program for the next three years.