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First step towards Thames tidal turbine farm

A tidal turbine is to be installed alongside HQS Wellington at Temple Stairs, in the heart of London, as a trial for a future tidal energy farm in the River Thames.

The trial is the first stage in plans to locate a tidal energy farm in the Thames that would generate enough electricity to power 35,000 homes.

The scheme will involve siting hundreds of tidal turbines − the largest capable of generating up to 500KW − along the river from Westminster to Margate.

Turbines are to be deployed in arrays along the Thames subject to planning consent and availability of sites.

The build out of the arrays will be phased over a number of years and early work will focus on reassuring all stakeholders.

The project is being developed by Thames Tidal, a joint venture involving tidal technology developer Nautricity, and global developer and financier of energy projects Energy Invest Group.

The former Royal Navy sloop HQS Wellington, owned and operated by the Wellington Trust, is home to the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and special permission has been obtained from the Port Of London Authority to conduct a two month trial to confirm “proof of concept.”

The project will utilise Nautricity’s innovative Cormat contra-rotating turbine which offers significant advantages in terms of its suppressed downstream turbulence, which will mitigate scouring of the river bed and banks.

While conventional tidal devices resemble wind turbines moored to the seabed, incurring enormous deployment and engineering costs, the Cormat device is a small capsule, tethered to a sub-surface float allowing the device to operate in a very wide range of water depths − key to making this project feasible.

Thames Tidal plans to allow for over 50MW of generating capacity, about an eighth of the power of the now decommissioned Battersea Power Station which will overlook some of the Thames Tidal array.

The pilot demonstration will allow stakeholders including the Port of London Authority to more fully understand the nature of the generating device.

It will stimulate a discussion which will shape an extensive planning exercise designed to mitigate any environmental risks and to ensure that Thames Tidal operations do not adversely impact on existing river users.

EIG chairman Brian Basham said: “We are delighted to have instigated this initiative and see it as the first in demonstrating the efficacy of this world beating technology in the centre of London that will have application nationwide and, indeed, globally.

“We are immensely grateful for unstinting support we’ve had from all the various Authorities, especially the Port Of London Authority and the Master Mariners, in making this happen.”

Nautricity chief executive officer Cameron Johnstone said: “We are delighted to participate in this exciting project to generate tidal electricity in the very heart of the city of London.

“The demonstration project gives us a real opportunity to demonstrate that tidal electricity facilities using Nautricity’s tidal turbines can be good neighbours with existing river users while making a significant contribution to our national carbon reduction goals.”

Wellington Trust chief executive Commodore Angus Menzies said: “the project provided an excellent opportunity for HQS Wellington to show her green ambitions and to become even more closely engaged with the river and the PLA.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Congratulations. At last some engineering which lives up to our role 'of using the graet power of nature' etc. and which considers an approximately known force to gain a predictable power supply. unlike wind which will sooner or later let us down when most needed.

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