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Developing a small scale tidal range solution for Hayle Harbour

Over the last six years, extensive work has been done to evaluate opportunities for small scale tidal range generation across south west England, with a particular focus on Cornwall and Hayle. A key challenge has been to identify technology solutions that can operate within the physical conditions available in the south west, without the need for excessive infrastructure development. 

The project owners for the Hayle Harbour project, Community Energy Plus (CEP) and Cornwall Offshore Renewable Energy Ventures (COREV) have worked closely with Sennybridge Ltd (the harbour developer), ASDA, Cornwall Council, Hayle Town Council, the harbour authority, the Environment agency, RSPB, and many other parties, in order to make the Hayle Harbour development plans truly sustainable.

Some technical feasibility activity is well advanced, having identified some specific options for small scale tidal range generation at Carnsew and Copperhouse Pools.

In order to develop the project to the next stage, the team engaged with the Marine-i project for support with conducting detailed research and feasibility studies. The Project Manager for this work is Neil Farrington of Marine-i partner, ORE Catapult. Neil explains:

“A key aim of the project is to demonstrate the economic viability of small-scale tidal range development. This could open up new markets and clear opportunities to exploit the tidal range, physical conditions and utilisation of existing infrastructure available across much of the UK, whilst supporting renewable energy generation targets and climate change commitments. The proposal could also have international reach, as it could be applicable to known areas of similar resource. At the same time, the business model and focus on direct supply options over potential future government subsidy support creates a stable platform for the long-term economic viability of the concept.”

The research programme devised by Marine-i involves expert teams from University of Exeter and ORE Catapult and falls into four key stages.

  • Stage 1: Turbine Identification and technology selection
  • Stage 2: Control system design and network integration
  • Stage 3: Mechanical, civil and engineering infrastructure requirements
  • Stage 4: LCOE modelling and building the economic case for small scale tidal generation

Dr Tim Jones, Chief Executive of CEP, one of the consortium partners, says: 

“We are very grateful for the expert support that we have received from Marine-i. This research will be crucial to move the project towards full commercial readiness. It will enable a number of critical decisions to be made around the tidal technology selection and its integration into the wider proposed local smart grid system. Completion of the research phases of the project will lead to the development of key technology and infrastructure input costs, critical to the development of the full business case. This could allow the consortium to secure contractual commitments from Sennybridge, ASDA, and other potential energy end users within the harbour.”

Prof Lars Johanning, Programme Director for Marine-i, says:

“This project could help to put Cornwall at the forefront of developing a new generating technology for the International tidal energy sector. The systems solution could also be transferred to other marine energy technologies, creating further supply chain support and development opportunities in the county. There are many known and potentially viable small-scale tidal range locations in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, as well as other locations in the south west and many more globally. Demonstrating the potential benefits of this proposed new system solution could help to drive future tidal development on these sites, helping us take a major step forward in the utilisation of tidal energy.”

[Image: Hayle Harbour]