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Fresh £140M tidal energy scheme mooted for Bristol Channel

A further tidal energy scheme has been proposed for the Bristol Channel.

University of Oxford spin-off Kepler Energy is seeking funding for plans for a 30MW fence likely to be located somewhere between Aberthaw in Wales and Minehead in Bristol. 

Although the £140M scheme is subject to raising finance and winning planning approval, the firm believes it could be operational within six years.

It could be built just upstream from the proposed £1bn, 240MW Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, which received a development consent order this month.

Kepler Energy chairman Peter Dixon said: “We can happily co-exist with tidal lagoons, and the power peaks will occur at different stages of the tide, meaning that the combined output into the grid will be more easily manageable.

“In addition, our… costs will be cheaper than lagoons and in time we will be cheaper than offshore wind generation. Furthermore, investment risk is manageable since turbines are added incrementally to form the fence, with each one generating revenue as it is added.”

Kepler holds an exclusive global licence for the technology, which was developed by academics at the University of Oxford’s engineering science department.

It said the system would work like a water mill and use the very latest carbon composite technology.

Its stressed truss configuration Transverse Horizontal Axis Water Turbine can generate electricity in lower velocity and shallower waters than axial flow turbines, according to the firm.

The first phase of the tidal fence scheme would be up to a 1km long, with the vision to create 10km-plus fences in future.

Dixon said:  “As our tidal technology can operate in lower velocity tidal waters, there is greater scope for its deployment in the UK and overseas. It means that we can achieve greater economies of scale as our projects are deployed.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Barry Walton

    Will that contraption not work with a vertical axis so that all of the electrics are above the water?

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