Nordic marine energy technology company Minesto secures rights to perform tidal energy tests in Northern Ireland
Nordic marine energy technology leader Minesto, with a proven technology to cost efficiently produce electricity from low velocity tidal and ocean currents, has been authorized by the Crown Estate in the UK to perform tidal energy tests in the waters off Northern Ireland.
The upcoming tests of Minesto’s tidal and ocean current energy solution Deep Green in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, is a major step forward in the commercialization of this innovative technology that has the potential to double the amount of tidal power that the UK can produce. Deep Green is the only available solution that works cost-effectively in slow currents.
The permits for Minesto were secured in record time as the UK sees Minesto’s solution as strategically important in order to reach the EU’s “2020 target”, i.e. that renewable energy should account for 15 percent of all energy production in the UK by 2020. Tidal energy is reliable and predictable, hence the strategic value for a sound energy mix.
The Crown Estate approved three marine renewable projects, the other two being The Isle of Wight Council and Scotrenewables Tidal Power. Minesto is the only company of the three that has also secured all other permits necessary, from e.g. the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency, to commence the trials.
Deep Green is a patented technology to cost-effectively produce energy from relatively slow tides and currents, a solution that extends the total potential for renewable marine energy significantly. The Deep Green is the only known technology in the world that is capable of producing energy in a cost-effective manner in slow currents.
Deep Green resembles a sweeping underwater kite, comprised of a wing and a turbine which is secured to the seabed with a tether and moves in a fast 8-shaped path in the tidal and ocean current.
An important step in the commercialization of Deep Green
“The site permit is important for our product development and commercialization of Deep Green,” said Anders Jansson, CEO, Minesto. “There is increasing interest in our solution for cost-effective marine energy production from low velocity currents – and that is the reason for us getting the permit so quickly. Deep Green expands the total potential for marine energy considerably. Marine energy is seen as increasingly strategically important in many countries, and especially in the United Kingdom.”
The Crown Estate owns and manages the British royal family’s estate, including the coastal areas and seabed of Northern Ireland.
These sea trials are an important step forward in the commercialization of Deep Green. They will now be carried out at a scale of 1:4 for a period of up to two years to validate the technology, later being scaled up to full scale. This is the second round of sea tests; in the beginning of 2012 successful tests where completed at a scale of 1:10. The new tests are expected to start in early 2013.
Compared to other traditional and renewable energy sources, tidal and ocean current energy is considerably more predictable and reliable and with minimal visual and environmental impact. Marine energy from the world’s ocean has huge potential. Deep Green, with its low weight and ability to function in low velocity currents, has several advantages compared to other tidal and ocean current power plants: the catchment area is much larger, and service and maintenance is more cost efficient, resulting in low electricity production costs, comparable with traditional energy sources.