The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is expected to start the search for organisations capable of delivering its next ambitious marine energy project within the next two months.

A public private partnership between six global industrial companies and the UK Government tasked with developing “mass scale” technologies that will help the UK meet its 2020 and 2050 energy targets, the ETI is planning a multi-million pound investment in innovative engineering for tidal stream energy arrays. The progression from individual demonstration tidal stream energy devices to early array implementation is seen as a critical next step in the development of tidal stream technologies and their ultimate mass deployment in the UK.

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The ETI has identified cost reduction as crucial to development of the marine energy sector and to creating impact on the broader UK energy system. The ETI tidal stream array project is expected to focus on major cost reduction opportunities associated with the development and installation of tidal stream energy arrays, and intends to specifically address some of the ETI priority areas for the marine energy sector identified in its Marine Energy Technology Roadmap, published in conjunction with the UK Energy Research Centre in October 2010 (http://www.energytechnologies.co.uk/Libraries/Related_Documents/ETI_UKERC_Roadmap.sflb ).

Today’s news coincides with Renewable UK’s Wave and Tidal Conference in London (http://www.renewable-uk.com/events/wave-tidal-conference/) which will address the current and topical issues surrounding wave and tidal energy policy and development in the UK with delegates due to hear from a number of speakers including Minister for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker.

ETI Chief Executive, Dr David Clarke, said: “We are finalising the details of this project but we are now starting the search for tidal developers, civil and subsea engineering companies and major engineering supply chain groups who could work with us on this project.

“Further significant advancement is needed to fully realise the potential of both tidal stream and wave energy generation. Key challenges we have identified for this proposed project include how to reduce installation costs and times, maximise the energy output and significantly reduce the cost of energy generated by arrays of tidal devices.

“The UK has a wealth of expertise in offshore industries, construction and innovation and the abundance of exploitable tidal resource means the UK is well placed to take advantage of this opportunity.”

“We see potential opportunities across the supply chain from incorporating novel installation approaches to getting proven devices integrated into arrays and in the water. If there is sufficient interest from the industry, we expect to formally launch the project in the next few months and we would like to hear from organisations keen to be involved at that stage.”

It is expected that a Request for Proposals will be issued by the ETI giving full details of the project in the next two months. Anyone interesting in receiving details of the RfP can sign up to the RSS feed on the ETI website at http://www.energytechnologies.co.uk/ETINewsRSS.rss, subscribe to receive the ETI’s newsletters by emailing info@eti.co.uk or follow the ETI on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_eti

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