Tidal power industry attacks UK's wind plan

The Government's recent backing for wind energy has come under fire from a leading tidal power manufacturer.

Pulse Tidal's chief executive, Bob Smith, hit out at the reliance on wind as his firm announced it was now generating tidal power in shallow waters of the banks of the Humber.

Mr Smith fears systems like his are not going to attract Government funding as it's backing offshore wind technology, which he does concede is more 'proven'.

He said: "Our system is proven to deliver high yields from shallow water tidal streams, but has to go through the process of proving that, over several years, it can sit on the sea bed and continuously delivery energy.

"There has to be room for both wind and tidal because to neglect tidal is to neglect a major potential source of energy."

Mr Smith points out tidal has several advantages that, in the medium- and long-term, will take it 'ahead of offshore wind' in terms of pure economics.

Firstly, he said, and most importantly, the UK needs predictable sources of energy and tidal is entirely predictable, unlike wind; because water is more dense than air.

He said Pulse's system can be much smaller than a wind turbine designed to capture the same amount of energy and so has lower installation costs.

As the system can also be fully submerged it get past planning rules, something wind firm Vestas cited as a reason for pulling out of manufacturing in the UK.

Pulse's system, the 100kW Humber prototype, works through tidal streams moving horizontal blades up and down to drive a generator.

The firm claims it can harness enough energy to power 70 homes and is currently building a much larger device.

Mr Smith Smith added: "The last few months of operation have shown that the Pulse concept offers an economic way to recover predictable, renewable energy from the tides.

"According to the latest industry figures, offshore wind energy costs between 8p and 11p per kWh to produce.

"We believe that the Pulse system will be more cost effective than offshore wind after only 1-200MW has been installed."

Luke Walsh


wind energy


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