More Renewables Jobs for Wales as Tidal Project Gets Green Light
There was a big boost for the Welsh renewables sector yesterday when Welsh Government announced approval for the Skerries Tidal Stream Array off Anglesey. The green light coincided with £10m government grant, allowing Siemens to predict financial close on the project by 2015.
The race is now on to get the project completed before the subsidy regime changes in 2017. The number of jobs created by the project has already doubled since Siemens’ investment, and now looks set to mushroom.
The SeaGen (Wales) Project is a joint venture between Siemens and RWE Npower Renewables. The location for the proposed array is in the sound between the group of rocks and islands known as the Skerries and Carmel Head on mainland Anglesey, less than 1km from the Anglesey coast, in approximately 20 to 40m water depth. The proposed array will consist of up to 9 SeaGen devices and have a total capacity of up to 10MW. The nearby port of Holyhead and the clear grid connection potential make the site ideal for Wales’ first tidal power array.
As can be seen from the simulations below, the SeaGen model works by connecting the turbines to a platform that is accessible from above the surface of the water. This reduces operation and maintenance costs, but means that the turbines are only suitable for shallow waters.
The approval of the project (as well as a sister project in Scotland) secures the UK’s reputation as a centre for tidal power research. Dr Achim Wörner, Siemens’ head of hydro and ocean power told Business Green: “The UK is the key market but we’re also looking at France, Canada especially, and Korea,” he adds. “But the UK is in the lead and all the others will follow. The UK is the only country offering five ROCs, although France is also looking at incentives for tidal power.”
There are a number of other tidal projects in development around the Welsh coast, including the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and the Severn Barrage. Thanks to government support of private investment in research the sector is delivering more economic and efficient technologies to realise the huge potential of tidal power from Wales and around the UK.