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Tidal Power

Press Release
30 May 2008

The Renewable Energy Centre supports use of Tidal power to supply the National Grid

Irish company OpenHydro has become the first company to successfully supply electricity to the national grid using tidal power technology. The Renewable Energy Centre issued a statement in full support of the system and the promotion of tidal power as a reliable source of energy for the UK.

The system developed by OpenHydro, is an underwater turbine which generates electricity using the energy created from the tide. Scotland is one of the best areas in the world to harness tidal power and could provide a significant contribution to the UK’s renewable energy targets. However The Renewable Energy Centre warned that funding and development of the technology is still many years away from full commercial deployment on a large scale. The centre said that tidal and wave power is one of the best sources for renewable energy but that the industry is still very much in its infancy.

The Renewable Energy Centre applauded the work conducted by the team at OpenHydro and EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre) for achieving this milestone and said it was in full support of continued development and production to serve the national grid and the UK’s energy needs. Other projects around the UK and worldwide which are being led by British companies are also in progress, indicating that the tidal power is an important developing industry and one which will ultimately benefit the economy.

The Renewable Energy Centre stressed that projects are still very expensive and that funding has been hard to secure, with the OpenHydro project needing £35 million to reach this stage, continued support for the industry is essential.

The UK’s tidal potential could serve up to 20% of the energy needed but in order to achieve this The Renewable Energy Centre said that improvements to the national grid were imperative and a reduction in red tape and timescales for projects to move forward.

Richard Simmons, Managing Director at The Renewable Energy Centre said “At some point the government is going to need to take action in order to meet the EU targets. Decisions need to be made now and improvements to our infrastructure in terms of how we harness renewable energy and serve it effectively into the grid should already be in progress. At the rate we are going we will barely make 10% of our target by 2020 never mind 15% and this is outrageous considering how much energy can easily be sourced from wind, wave and tidal power.”

The Renewable Energy Centre said it was continuing to highlight the issues and problems holding back valuable projects and re-iterated its support for EMEC and the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA). It concluded by stating that in order to achieve security and sustainability for the UK’s energy it was important for everyone to pull together to make change happen, starting with wind, wave and tidal power solutions.

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