Scaling up: This dual-rotor tidal turbine has been feeding up to 1.2 megawatts of power to the Irish grid since 2008. Commercial versions will generate two megawatts.
The company also anticipates incentives in the form of U.K. and Scottish installation grants. The tidal power parks will also provide the company with renewable generation credits, which utilities need to acquire to comply with the U.K.’s renewable power standard. Last month, the U.K. announced plans to boost the credits for wave and tidal energy plants from two to five for every megawatt-hour of electricity generated. In comparison, offshore wind farms will earn two credits, and power stations burning biomass will earn one.
Tyler estimates that his first power parks will produce 15,000 to 20,000 megawatt-hours per year, meaning the tidal turbine arrays could earn £3.75 million ($6 million) in incentive payments annually.
Tyler says Siemens’s backing will be crucial to raising the £100 million in private investment needed to finance the projects: “It completely changes their perception about our credibility,” he says.
Paris-based Alstom Group, which competes against Siemens in power equipment and high-speed trains, also expects to make a splash in tidal power next year. Alstom is building a one-megawatt demonstration turbine using technology licensed from Canada’s Clean Current Power Systems. At a meeting in Bali last month, Phillippe Gilson, Alstom’s ocean energy manager, affirmed that Alstom plans to install the 20-meter-tall, fully submersible turbine in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy in 2012.