Swedish marine energy company Minesto has been awarded a US$14.4 million (€13 million) investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh government to roll out its Deep Green tidal power plant.
Deep Green, the firm's energy converter technology, is based on a type of subsea kite which is moved by the hydrodynamic lift force created by currents. The kite is steered in a figure of eight shaped trajectory by a rudder, reaching a speed 10X the water current. As the kite moves, water flows through the turbine and electricity is produced in the gearless generator. Electricity is transmitted through a cable in the tether attached to the wing and then transfered to shore via subsea cables.
The ERDF funding is part of the commercial roll out of the technology, including the establishment of Minesto UK Headquarters in North Wales and commissioning of the first commercial Deep Green power plant.
Minesto will install the first commercial scale 0.5MW power plant in Holyhead Deep, off Wales, and continue with additional deployments in what will eventually be an array with a total capacity of 10MW, expected to be operational in 2019.
In July 2014, Minesto was awarded an Agreement for Lease for a commercial demonstration site for electricity production from tidal currents near Holyhead Island in Wales, called Holyhead Deep. Holyhead Deep is a seabed area west of Anglesey, North Wales. Minesto first identified the area as a perfect location for a commercial Deep Green installation with help from another EU funded project, SEACAMS, in 2012. The area meets all of the physical requirements, providing low-flow tidal velocities (1.5m/s – 2m/s mean peak flow) at a depth of 80-100m, just a short distance from the shore.
Deep Green has been producing electricity in the waters off Northern Ireland for almost two years.
Minesto's Deep Green ocean energy device. Image from Minesto.