UK Tidal Energy Gets £50 Million Boost

Research and development innovations for harnessing the power of the tide just might make it to market as energy producers in the United Kingdom (UK) with a government promise of £50 million (US$ 91.4 million) in business funding from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

London, England — August 3, 2004 [] Businesses throughout the country can benefit from the funding, and Secretary of State for the DTI Patricia Hewitt said she would like to see the UK be a world leader in harnessing wave and tidal stream power as a potential source of renewable energy. Tidal stream energy exploits the natural rise and fall of coastal tidal waters. Power is derived from the kinetic energy of the moving flow; similar to the way a wind turbine operates in air. Energy production from the tide relies on providing a head of water for energy extraction. “Renewable energy — through wind, wave and other sources — plays a vital part in our fight against climate change,” Hewitt said. “We are committed to further developing renewable energy to play an increasing role in the UK’s energy mix.” The announcement coincides with a renewable energy study from Scotland’s Marine Energy Group, a subgroup of the Scottish Executive’s Forum for Renewable Energy. An action plan is included in the study to encourage the commercial deployment of marine energy devices in Scotland, to maximize the contribution from marine energy into the country’s energy mix by 2020, and to develop a sustainable manufacturing base for marine technologies. Work on the precise mechanism for development of wave and tidal stream is underway with a combined effort of the Scottish Executive, Carbon Trust and other key stakeholders. The Marine Energy Challenge was issued from the Carbon Trust earlier in 2004. Through efforts to partner large engineering design organizations with existing wave and tidal power technology developers, the Marine Energy Challenge undertakes detailed engineering design and performance analysis to identify if, and how, tangible reductions in the generation costs are achievable. “With the DTI and the Scottish Executive we are supporting the world’s first marine test center in Orkney,” Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust Tom Delay said. “The next step is to make the UK a global center of excellence, and we look forward to working with the Government and the Scottish Executive to make this a reality.”
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