Inside UK’s deep sea tidal project set to power thousands of homes

Putin's attempts to cripple Ukraine's energy is 'futile' says expert

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Thousands of homes are poised for a huge energy lifeline via the launch of the deep-sea tidal project, which will see the construction of a hydro-electric dam to help provide a clean and reliable source of power. Centre Point Holding’s project, in partnership with Centrica, will see a state-of-the-art container terminal built in the Wash, East Anglia, which provides a tidal area of 780sq Km for renewable energy production. But as part of the project, a hydro-electric dam, aimed at boosting sea defence, will also help to harness energy generated by the sea’s waves. Tidal power is an energy source that is generated by tidal waves, which come at predictable hours every day. 

James Suttclife, CEO Centre Port Holdings, said that his project will bring a huge boost to the Wash region, and will supply up to 600,000 homes and businesses with clean and reliable power.

He told “This is meeting the Government’s requirement for more renewable energy. The good news about tidal is that it is entirely predictable. It happens twice a day, every day, so it is entirely predictable energy for the next thousand years or so. 

“The project itself will last at least 200 years because most of the Victorian ports that were built 200 years ago are still there. This structure will be there for a very long time, unlike wind farms which need to be rebuilt every 25 years. 

“Turbine systems are fairly simple at the end of the day. They can easily be serviced on-site. You don’t have to go on a ship to get out to the like you do with wind turbines.”

Previously speaking to, Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, head of the school of engineering at the University of Edinburgh explained that tidal power’s “big advantage” is how reliable it is.

He said that tidal turbines “have the advantage that they’re just like wind energy, they directly capture the flow in the current”. He added: “The big advantage of tidal energy is that its entirely predictable. If you can predict the tidal flow for six months, you can predict it forever.

“That’s a great advantage on wind energy for utilities, because they can predict exactly when the tidal energy will be generated.”

But currently in the UK, the rollout of tidal has been going at a relatively slow place due to its comercial viability. However, a recent report published by Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult last month revealed that the cost of generating power from tidal streams has plummeted by 40 percent since 2018. The Government-backed researcher also forecasts that prices could drop below that of nuclear energy a decade or so. 

Now, Centre Point appears to be taking advantage, and hopes to get the project online in just a few years’ time. 

Mr Suttclife said: “With the UK planning regulations, environmental requirments and everything esle that we have to work through, it could take up to two to three years to get through to the final planning apprvoal. But this will be a nationally significant infrastrcutre project and we know that the Government is trying to make infrastructure happen more quickly at present time, so we think it would about three years after the approval phase.”

And the Centre Point boss suggested that the tidal turbine could provide homes and businesses with power at a consistant price, helping to avoid any potential rising energy costs.

He said: “The great thing about renewable energy is that as long as you are sufficiantly viable, that you can repay the infrastrcutre over 10 or 15 years or more, the price of the power stays pretty much consistent. On a local basis, it doesn’t increase with the cost of fossil fuels because we are not using any.”

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This comes as Brtian’s vulnerability to volatile fossil fuel markets was exposed following Russia’s war and Ukraine and Vladimir Puitn’s supply cuts to Europe. 

This has had a huge knock-on impact on UK billpayers, who are paying around double the amount they were for power compared with this time last year. 

To boost the UK’s energy independence and security, eventually helping to access cheaper bills for households, the Govermnet has argued that Britain needs more clean sources of homegrown energy and is pushing for a big renewable drive. 

But tidal power is often left out of discussion, despite the UK being well suited to harness vast amounts of clean energy via this power source. 

Mr Suttclife said: “In the UK in partcular. We benefit for a very good tidal regime where there are many opportunities around the coast that could be appropriate for us to do this again.”

But the Government has recognised the UK’s potential, and last year announced that it will invest £20million per year in Tidal Stream electricity to “kickstart brand-new chapter for the tidal industry”. Through the scheme, it argued that Britain will be able to “unlock the potential for a thriving UK tidal power sector, with the cash boost supporting marine technologies which could benefit the whole of the UK”. 

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