Baseload, Hydropower

TidalStream Seeks Partner to Test Ocean Turbines in Deep Waters

TidalStream Ltd., a maker of platforms for tidal-power turbines, is in talks with energy companies and utilities to test its technology in deeper waters.

TidalStream is seeking to form a partnership next year, John Armstrong, a director at the London-based company, said in an interview. It’s talking to turbine makers, marine companies, shipyards and utilities based in Europe, Asia and Canada.

“We’re open to any deal structure,” Armstrong said by telephone. “Developing deepwater sites will be expensive, so we want to engage with companies that have the resources needed to provide that capital and to provide know-how as well.”

The tidal-energy industry is still in its infancy, with developers working to market their turbines and bring commercial-scale projects into operation for the first time. Tidal energy costs about $440 a megawatt-hour, more five times the cost of coal-fired power, according to Bloomberg estimates.

TidalStream’s platforms can accommodate groups of turbines at varying water depths. The technology has the potential to cut the cost of installing turbines by half, according to Armstrong.

“Turbine makers seem to recognize that this is one way to reduce costs,” he said. “Most of them have been busy solving the problem of putting turbines in the water, so they are receptive to the idea of lowering costs and solving the access and maintenance and installation problems in one go.”

A future partnership may bring TidalStream together with more than one company, Armstrong said.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

Lead image: Ocean wave via Shutterstock