Commercial tidal generator planned for Lynmouth

Energy company bidding to place machine off North Devon coastline capable of generating electricity for up to 1,000 homes.

A full sized underwater tidal generator capable of powering up to 1,000 homes is being proposed or the waters off Lynmouth.

Sheffield-based energy company Pulse Tidal has been given permission by the Crown Estate to place a commercial scale 1.2MW machine on the seabed off Foreland Point in 2014.

The company was awarded a �6.5 million EU grant to help develop its new Pulse-Stream system, which operates by tidal currents moving horizontal blades up and down to drive a generator.

The Lynmouth site was used between 2003-07 to test a prototype generator installed by Marine Current Turbines and the work was hailed a huge success.

The Pulse system sits on the seabed and is fully submerged even in shallow water but can be brought to the surface for maintenance without the need for cranes and complicated offshore vessels.

It will still need to gain planning permission following consultation and environmental studies.

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The company said it had considered a number of other sites, but the creation of the new “South West Marine Energy Park” designation aimed at developing the region’s marine energy sector helped make this area the most attractive option.

“Since deploying our first demonstration device in 2009, the Pulse Team has made tremendous progress in developing our technology at a commercial scale,” said Pulse Tidal chief executive Bob Smith.

“I am delighted that the Crown Estate has recognised this with the award of this Agreement for Lease. The chosen site is a very attractive location for us, with a great tidal resource and a nearby grid connection.”

Marc Paish, the company’s chief technology officer, said a single machine could produce three to four times the power of other designs in any water depth.

“Lynmouth is a great demonstration of this as it is relatively shallow - at only 18 metres - and yet Pulse-Stream can produce 1.2MW there,” he said.

“Such a high power output in very shallow water close to shore gives us the chance to significantly reduce the cost of the energy and to exploit the significant tidal energy resources available in places such as the Bristol Channel which are also close to areas of high energy demand.”

Councillor Malcolm Prowse, North Devon Council’s lead Member for economy and regeneration, said the council would be working closely with the company and local people to ensure the project met its objectives to support sustainable energy projects.

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