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China explores large scale tidal power

The Chinese National Energy Administration has commissioned an economic assessment into the viability of building a Dynamic Tidal Power (DTP) facility off the east coast of China.

The facility would involve construction of a dam stretching between 60km and 100 km perpendicular to the Chinese coast between Xiamen and Shantou, in the entrance to the Bohai Sea. 

The dam would capture power from the tide through a network of 4,000 turbines that would generate up to 15GW of energy – the equivalent of six large coal or gas power stations and would provide energy for more than 10M homes.

A consortium of eight Dutch companies (see box) is leading the development of this new, patented technology with the Chinese Government, known as the POWER Programme.  Following a series of feasibility projects over the past three years which have demonstrated the proof of the principle and assessed potential locations, the current economic assessment will look at the design and construction costs which are estimated to be in the region of $40bn (£23.9bn).

Dutch Power Programme partners

Strukton Engineering
Arcadis Nederland
Nijhuis Pompen
DNV KEMA Energy and Sustainability
TU Delft (Faculty Civil Engineering and Geo sciences)
Hulsbergen Hydraulic innovation & Design H2iD

Cooperating Partners: Deltares Sinosphere (Dimitri de Boer)  

“We are thrilled about the fruitful co-operation with our Chinese partners,” said Arcadis River, Coast and Sea director Rob Steijn, one of the inventors of the technology. “Of course it helps a lot that many tidal conditions along the Chinese coastline are very good for the concept of dynamic tidal power.”

In addition to China, a number of other coastal locations around the world have been identified as having potential for dynamic tidal power.  These include the Korean Peninsula and in the North Sea off the coast of the UK and Northern Europe. 

The Chinese economic assessment is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.  If successful, the next stage is the testing and final design with the project potentially being completed by 2020.

What is Dynamic Tidal Power?

Dynamic Tidal Power is a potential new method of tidal power generation. It involves creating a large dam-like structure extending from the coast straight into the ocean, with a possible perpendicular barrier at the far end, forming a large ‘T’ shape.  This dam would harness the tidal waves running along the coasts of continental shelves which contain powerful hydraulic energy.

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