Fair Head Tidal Energy project – public information days

27 05 2014


Please see detail of Public Information days issued by Tidal Energy Project

Public Information Days – Ballycastle 11th June and Rathlin Island 12th June 2014

 As you may already be aware DP Energy (in conjunction with offshore construction company DEME) are proposing to install a tidal generation scheme at Fair Head off the North Antrim coast where the currents are strongest and offers excellent potential for the generation of clean and reliable power. Together we have set up a dedicated project company Fair Head Tidal Energy Park Ltd (FHT) which will evaluate the resource, environmental impacts and engage with stakeholders as we go through the consent process. 

 FHT was awarded an Agreement for Lease from The Crown Estate in 2012 and has already engaged with local stakeholders including those with fishing interests as well as undertaken a number of development activities looking at resource, the presence of marine mammals, sea birds, etc in preparation for producing an environmental impact assessment and report.

 A key part of the development process is, of course, engagement with local people and communities in order to both provide information on the proposal, but also to obtain feedback as part of the assessment and evaluation prior to submitting any formal application for consent. To this end we are hosting two public open days with an exhibition in Ballycastle on June 11th from 2.00pm until 8.00pm and on Rathlin on June 12th from 2.00pm until 4.30pm We will be sharing information on tidal energy in general, as well as site specific information from the surveys we have been undertaking and propose to do in the coming months. The open days will also provide details on some of the tidal turbine technologies being considered, and our current thinking on where the power may be brought ashore. Members of the FHT team will be on hand throughout these events to answer questions and to listen and note any concerns (or voices of support) raised.

 Subject to consents and the availability of grid connection the first stage of the proposal is to install a tidal farm of up to 10MW, comprising between 5 and 10 turbines. This will form part of our European Commission TIDES project intended to demonstrate tidal arrays and would we hope be one of the earliest arrays developed in the UK. The technology for this stage would be Siemens/MCT broadly similar to that deployed in Strangford Lough but we are also considering solutions which are largely sub-sea. The second stage would be more substantial completing the scheme’s 100MW output leading to a potential investment of around £400m, and providing enough to power to supply 70,000 homes.

 We believe tidal energy in Northern Ireland can make an important contribution to meeting Northern Ireland and European climate change and renewable energy targets, as well as providing greater energy security which is becomingly evidently more critical as the current instability in eastern Europe shows just how vulnerable we are to coal, gas and oil shortages. 


Beyond the broader energy aspect there is clearly an opportunity on the back of projects such as Fair Head to expand on Northern Ireland’s early lead in the tidal energy arena (Strangford Lough) and develop direct socio-economic benefits and an export based industry to benefit both the North Antrim area and Northern Ireland as a whole.


The Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has been very supportive of the tidal energy sector and plans and I should also note we have been particularly pleased with the help and support we have received from Northern Ireland agencies in general. In fact we have found from our experiences to date having undertaken public open days in both Scotland and Nova Scotia positivity about tidal energy is something of a common theme.

 Blair Marnie is the Fair Head Tidal project manager;

  • Joris Minne of JPR is managing our communications;  and
  • Clodagh McGrath, Environmental Manager.

Follow Scotland’s example on energy efficiency’

30 03 2014

 Energy Efficient Homes

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham is calling on the Assembly to follow the Scottish example an introduce a new energy efficiency standard which could save tenants an average of £210 per year on fuel bills.

Councilor Cunningham continued “The energy efficiency standard for social housing (EESSH) recently launched by the Scottish Government as a way to reduce energy consumption, fuel poverty and carbon emissions.”

“Rising fuel prices have pushed the issue of energy efficiency up the agenda; there is also a need to address fuel poverty.”

“Setting the standards will result in carbon savings and will reduce fuel bills for tenants whose homes don’t currently meet the standard.”

“The big issue for the Assembly is to make sure that there is funding available to ensure that the standards can be met and that all sources of funding, such as European Union grants are drawn down.”

Earth Hour 2014

29 03 2014

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham is backing the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) campaign and its starry- themed ‘wish for a better future’ ahead of the global lights out event due to take place on Saturday 29th March at 8:30pm.

Cllr Cunningham said: “Our natural world is precious to all life that inhabits it, but we need to do more to protect it.  WWF’s Earth Hour reminds us that there are simple things we can all do for the planet – not just for one hour, but every day. It’s a great opportunity to bring together millions of people from across the world with one united goal – to help protect our planet.”

Earth Hour sees millions of people around the world coming together to switch off their lights for one hour in a symbolic act of support to show they care about our planet. WWF already works to tackle a lot of environmental challenges – like deforestation, threats to endangered species, and the impacts of climate change – but Earth Hour is a chance for everyone to say they’ll do their bit.

Last year, Earth Hour brought together over 10 million people in 154 countries took part. Iconic landmarks such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House all switched off and hundreds of local communities, schools and businesses took part.

Year after year, more people sign up and join the millions of people across the globe taking part in this celebration of our beautiful planet. By switching off your lights, you will be part of a movement of people that are pledging to live more sustainably and creating a brighter future.”

To find out more about WWF’s Earth Hour and register to take part visit wwf.org.uk/earthhour<file:///C:\Users\sbrown\AppData\Local\users\krollings\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Outlook\HRSULW4C\wwf.org.uk\earthhour> and join millions of people who are signing up to the big switch off.

Attwood: EU climate and energy proposals less ambitious than they should be

22 01 2014

renewable-energy green

Attwood: EU climate and energy proposals less ambitious than they should be

Whatever the details of the EU climate and energy proposals today, Northern Ireland and Ireland must continue to roll out its green and renewable strategies according to West Belfast MLA and European candidate, Alex Attwood.

“Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland has some of the very best quality wind, wave and tidal in the world today. This is a catalyst to roll out renewables – both as economic drivers and as environmental remedies. Nothing has changed.

“Green energy is an essential feature of our economic future and opportunity – it remains so whatever about today’s proposals.

“The net effect on the EU proposals is that these are still ambitious but less ambitious than they could have been or the SDLP would argue for. A binding 40% emissions reduction from 1990 levels and 27% of energy from renewables (UK argued for 50%) is less in its scale than what the SDLP would propose given the character of climate change and the critical temperature increases that are now being recorded.

“The SDLP will continue to press that renewables, waste reduction, energy efficiency and a single minded carbon reduction approach are big ways for our economy to prosper and our wonderful environment in Northern Ireland to be enhanced.”

Global Wind Day

11 04 2013


On 15th June this year, thousands of people will celebrate Global Wind Day, the international celebration of wind power and its potential to change the world.

Global Wind Day takes place on 15th June and will include activities around the world, from open days at wind farms, to opportunities to support wind energy and its associated benefits. It also includes a call to donate to the work of Renewable World in East Africa.

In the run-up to the event, Global Wind Day is focussing on our wind-solar hybrid project in Tanzania, where renewable energy services are transforming the lives of vulnerable people in Songambele. You can donate in pounds or in euros to projects like these and fund our vital programme in East Africa.

We work with some of the developing world’s most remote communities – people who have no access to power – to provide renewable systems to improve; health, education, nutrition and opportunity, without adding to global climate change.

Access to energy enables communication and trade, supports the establishment of new income generating ventures and stimulates enterprise. Education is improved as children can study in the evenings, and schools can open later for adult education. Affordable energy improves health through the use of clean lighting and cooking sources, and because clean water can be pumped direct to households. Healthcare is more accessible because clinics can keep vaccines, HIV tests and snakebite anti-venom in fridges.

The Vast potential of Tidal Energy (article from The New Economy)

4 04 2013


Tidal energy is approaching the stage at which it can be considered a serious alternative to non-renewable energy sources The UK marine energy sector is experiencing big developments. The government’s energy bill has created new funding measures, and corporate investment has emerged just as new tidal technology testing is underway.

Trials of a new commercial-scale turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Scotland commenced in January as part of the Energy Technologies Institute‘s (ETI) Reliable Data Acquisition Platform for Tidal (ReDAPT) project. The £12.6m project was announced in 2009 and is due for completion mid-2014, when the turbine’s testing period ends.

Deployment of this project has been warmly welcomed, as until now the marine energy industry in the UK has developed on the back of government grants and some venture capital investment. This kind of funding is not sustainable in the long-term due to the lengthy gestation period of the technology: although, there is now a growing confidence that the machinery is close to maturity.

 Wave potential

ETI has relied on financial support from its six private-sector partners: BP, Caterpillar, EDF Energy, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell. Its public funds are received from agencies such as the Department for Transport and the Technology Strategy Board. Its latest turbine installation was carried out by Alstom, a French multinational conglomerate that recently acquired tidal turbine designer and manufacturer Tidal Generation Limited (TGL) from Rolls-Royce.

Larger corporate companies, such as Alstom and Siemens, have invested in similar technologies as they align with their corporate strategies and, more importantly, the businesses have the funding and enduring investment timeframes to support the projects.

Alstom’s new 1MW turbine was installed at the EMEC tidal test site in Orkney at the end of January. It was mounted on the same tripod support structure used to deploy the previously tested 500KW device, where it will remain for an 18-month trial period. There are high hopes for this machinery, as TGL’s 500KW turbine generated 200mw hours for the national grid between September 2010 and March 2012, demonstrating great potential.

Jacques Jamart, Senior Vice President of Alstom New Energies, said: “This new milestone installation in the development of tidal power generation technology is a step further towards the commercialisation of this new power solution.”

The aim of the ReDAPT project is to increase confidence in turbine technology. The current test will provide a wide range of environmental impact and performance information, while demonstrating the latest turbine designís efficiency. Induction of the turbine will demonstrate a new, productive, reliable design.

It boasts features that are as impressive as they are effective: an 18 metre rotor supports three pitchable blades, and the 150-tonne machine is buoyant, allowing minimal installation and maintenance costs. It operates at 40 metre depths with the ability to rotate to face the incoming tide at the optimal angle to extract maximum energy potential.

Jerume Pecresse, President of Alstom Renewable Power said: “This technology will optimise electricity production, limit maintenance constraints, and thus will help reduce the cost of electricity of this renewable energy source.”

It is anticipated that this, in turn, will accelerate deployment of marine energy technology in the UK, as there are currently many unexploited marine energy resources around the countryís coastline. The next step is to install pilot arrays prior to full commercial production.

This subsequent phase seems more promising, with the recent acquisition of financial support from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. A spokesman said: “We’ve more than doubled support for wave and tidal technologies from April 2013 under our Renewables Obligation scheme, and committed £28m of government support for testing facilities. Weíve also helped develop Marine Energy Parks, which are bringing together manufacturing and expertise to generate new innovation and accelerate the move to commercialisation.”

An additional development fund of £20m for low carbon technology has also been awarded to MeyGen and SeaGeneration Wales to test their innovative turbines in formations out at sea. Climate Minister Greg Baker said: “These projects will provide valuable insight into how best to harness the power of the sea and take us one vital step closer to realising the full potential of marine in our future energy mix.”

Jobs and power

MeyGen is using the investment to deploy a commercial array of 1.4MW tidal turbines, developed and supplied by A Hydro Hammerfest, at the Inner Sounds Pentland Firth site off the mainland of northern Scotland. These Scottish locations prove popular testing sites as Scotland boasts 25 percent of Europe’s tidal energy potential, with the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters hosting the worldís first commercial-scale leasing ground for marine energy.

The results from MeyGen’s turbines will be telling; Andritz Hydro Hammerfestís pre-commercial 1MW turbine was installed at the EMEC site in December 2011, but did not deliver any energy to the grid until February 2012. MeyGen has also applied for Scotlandís Saltire Prize Challenge – a clean energy grant worth £10m – to accelerate the commercial development of wave and tidal energy technology.

All this investment will be beneficial, as tidal turbines not only have the potential to deliver a significant portion of UK electricity ñ up to 2GW of deployment by 2020 – but the sector could be worth £6.1bn to the country by 2035, creating nearly 20,000 jobs.

Tidal appears to be a sensible energy resource choice for the UK due to the abundance of shoreline available to the island nation. It is an inexhaustible supply of energy, is as predictable as the turning of the tide, requires no fuel supply and has a smaller carbon footprint than many other energy sources.

But according to a recent RenewableUK report, the strike prices for the new Contract for Difference regime in 2017 pave the way to more tribulations for the marine energy industry. To attract more investors to commercial-scale tidal arrays, they will have to guarantee a strike price of £280-300/MWh by 2020, but realistically the prices may be as high as £320/MWh. This would look far less favourable to investors than the current estimated targets of £100/MWh for offshore wind and nuclear energy by 2020.

Emerging results from current tests may give more of an indication if tidal energy stands a chance at competing for investors against other renewables. However, EMECís Managing Director, Neil Kermode, has himself admitted that the company is facing challenges with grid capacity and connection charges and has stressed the importance of the momentum needed to overcome these obstacles.

For marine energy to be lifted from its status as an esoteric concept, the momentum Kermode is talking about needs to come from ongoing investments, with potential future backers following suit. Without them, the new tidal technological developments will be left stagnant and the UKís greatest potential source of renewable energy will continue to be left untapped.