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Underwater kites to power a city the size of Newcastle by 2020

Tidal energy device developer Minesto UK to receive a grant of up to £350,000 from the Carbon Trust to deploy the first seagoing prototype of its innovative tidal energy seakite technology in the first stage of a plan to generate more than 500GWh of electricity a year.

The device works like a kite, tethered to the seabed, which moves through the sea current carrying a turbine.  If trials are successful, Minesto plans to deploy enough devices around the UK’s coastline to generate up to 530GWh a year by 2020, enough to power the annual electricity needs for all households in a city approximately the size of Newcastle.

The new concept can operate in slower currents than any other known tidal energy technology. It has the potential to unlock significant additional tidal resources by opening up whole new areas of low velocity tidal streams around the UK’s coastline to generate electricity.

The trial will see a one-tenth size version of the Deep Green device installed off the coast of Northern Ireland. Carbon Trust’s funding is provided by Invest Northern Ireland.

Minesto managing director Anders Jansson said: “The support from the Carbon Trust has really helped Minesto to accelerate its technical development and proves that the UK has large ambitions for its marine renewable programme.”

The Carbon Trust research and development grant will support Minesto in gaining site permits for installations, testing survivability in a real sea environment and also develop and verify a model for the cost of energy from the device, after the Carbon Trust first supported the concept through its Marine Energy Accelerator programme.  

The director of innovations at the Carbon Trust Benj Sykes said:  “The UK boasts some of the best tidal resources in the world and we are focused on bringing down the cost of extracting that energy.  Minesto’s Deep Green is a very exciting technology as it could provide a step change reduction in the cost of tidal energy and open up swathes of the UK’s coast to generating electricity.  Tidal energy has the potential to produce up to 18 terawatt hours of electricity, equivalent to over 5% of the UK’s electricity consumption.”

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