Wales’ first full-scale tidal energy generator has been awarded a £1.6m EU grant to fund its deployment in Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire, the First Minister Carwyn Jones announced today (1st May).

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The funding from the European Regional Development Fund, administered by the Welsh European Funding Office for Welsh Government, has been provided to Cardiff-based Tidal Energy Ltd for its DeltaStream tidal energy device.

Harbour trials of the device will be taking place in Milford Haven later this year, before the DeltaStream unit is deployed in Ramsey Sound in Pembrokeshire in 2014. There, it will generate clean electricity for the homes of St Davids over a 12-month demonstration period.

Invented by Pembrokeshire engineer Richard Ayre the DeltaStream device sits on the seabed under its own gravity, and comprises three independent 400kW turbines mounted on a triangular frame. For the first deployment in Ramsey Sound early next year, one 400kW turbine will be installed in order to minimise operational and maintenance risk, with a view to scaling up to the full scale device later in 2014/2015.

Martin Murphy, Managing Director of Tidal Energy Ltd – which has obtained a suite of patents for its DeltaStream technology – said, “This is a really exciting time for us. We have all the necessary operating consents, have completed the grid work for the project, and are now preparing for our first at-sea tests. The remaining principal contractors are due to be placed shortly, we have recently invited tenders for fabrication and we are also expanding our team at our Cardiff headquarters.”

Murphy added, “We want to assemble the device in Pembrokeshire, with a view to using it as an operational base. There are plentiful resources here in Wales for marine renewable development as well as a wealth of expertise. Tidal Energy Ltd is committed to leading the expansion of this industry and to the creation of green jobs.”

Tidal Energy Ltd is backed by Welsh renewable energy company Eco2 Ltd, which has developed projects in biomass, wind and landfill gas.

Chief Executive of Eco2 Ltd, David Williams, said, “When we have completed our demonstration device testing of the DeltaStream device in Ramsey Sound, we have plans to install a 10MW array off St David’s Head in Pembrokeshire. Our aim is to achieve a major market share of installed marine renewable capacity in the UK by 2020.”

Chris Williams, Development Director at Tidal Energy Ltd, added, “We are delighted that this funding will allow us to continue developing our business here in Wales, and that we are able to contribute to the creation of a sustainable, low carbon economy for the Country.”

This latest grant follows an earlier funding provision of £6.4M from EU funds in 2011.

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