Ballycastle must position itself as hub for Tidal energy jobs

11 06 2014

Tidal Turbine

SDLP Councillor and newly elected Chair of Moyle Council Dónal Cunningham has called for Ballycastle to become the hub for tidal energy research and development.

Speaking after attending a public information event with the Fair Head Tidal Energy Project who are proposing 100MW renewable energy plant powered purely by the tide.

Councillor Cunningham said ,” Tidal energy represents a commercially viable and environmentally sustainable solution to low carbon power generation. We have two significant and exciting projects in the pipeline for the tidal streams off Fair Head and Torr Head, to me it makes real business sense for the area to become a centre for marine energy research, fabrication and deployment supply chain. We need to capitalise on our unique position and natural resources to create jobs and opportunities for the area

“The Fair Head project is being developed by DP Energy and DEME solutions will generate the equivalent electricity to power an estimated 70,000 homes by 2020. The development area is centred approximately 2km to the east of Fair Head off the north Antrim coast and around 1km at its nearest point to land.”

“A lot needs to be done to strengthen our capabilities, Council, DETI, Invest NI all need to work together so that the area can support the growth and the successful delivery of the tidal energy projects and maximise the possibility of jobs which our geographical location should provide us.”



Cunningham congratulates Open Hydro

8 06 2014

 Open Hydro silent

Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has congratulated Open Hydro, part of the consortium developing a 100MW tidal energy farm off Torr Head Co Antrim, on their selection as supplier of tidal turbines in a pilot tidal project at Paimpol-Bréhat in Brittany, France .

 Councillor Cunningham a keen supporter of renewables said “This is good news for an Irish firm, it is great to know that there is international confidence in Open Hydro and it’s technology. Open Hydro’s turbines are completely submerged and not visible above sea level. We are keen that the most up to date and effective technology is deployed locally. “

 “ Two OpenHydro turbines are to be installed on the Paimpol-Bréhat site which will test their performance while connected to the grid. This will demonstrate their long-term reliability under real conditions.”

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.

Oxford University confirm the potential of Scottish tidal ener

11 07 2013

Islay Underwater-tidal-power-
RenewableUK today welcomed new research published by Oxford University, which highlights the huge potential of tidal power in the Pentland Firth. The report says that tidal turbines in the currents between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands could generate up to 1.9 Gigawatts of energy, which represents almost half of Scotland’s entire electricity requirements.
The report is an extensive piece of research and calculates that the Pentland Firth is one of the best tidal energy sites in Europe. When other sites in Scottish waters are taken in to account, this points to the real possibility of marine energy playing a serious part in the energy future of both Scotland and the UK.
David Krohn, Wind and Tidal Energy Development Manager said: “Scotland’s potential for developing tidal power is amongst the highest in the world. While the Pentland Firth is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown, Scotland’s large coastline and archipelagos contain a number of significant sites. Kyle Rhea and Islay are currently under development and have received upfront capital support from the UK Government and the European commission respectively. The Crown Estate has granted leases for a further 14 sites across Scotland, including the extremely promising Cantick Head, Brough Ness and Lashy Sound sites. In addition, technological advancements made by the industry, such as floating platforms, allow us to extract more energy from tidal flows.
“The development of the world leading tidal energy industry in Scotland has been partly down to the consistent support it has received from the Scottish Government.This support has been based on the fact that a sizeable proportion of Scotland’s energy requirements can be sourced from the tides but also on the recognition that Scotland, and the UK more widely, can capitalise on the significant global opportunity by supplying skills, goods and services to tidal energy projects in other parts of the world”.

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.

Fair Head Tidal Energy Project presentation

6 03 2013

Sea gen


In September 2012 a consortium formed by DP Marine Energy Ltd (DPME) and DEME Blue Energy (DBE) was awarded an Agreement for Lease (AfL) from The Crown Estate (TCE). A joint venture company (Fair Head Tidal Energy Park Ltd) has been formed to explore the potential, and develop, subject to permits and consents, a 100MW tidal energy project off the Antrim Coast at Fair Head. If, following consultation and environmental impact assessments, the proposal is consented the build programme will commence around 2016/2017 although this will depend heavily on resolving onshore grid connection issues. The ultimate target is to be in full commercial operation by the end of 2019.

The Crown Estate has also awarded an AfL to Tidal Ventures, a joint venture company between Bord Gáis and the tidal turbine manufacturer Open Hydro. This site located at Torr Head is also of 100MW capacity and lies immediately adjacent to the Fair Head site as illustrated in Figure 1 below. Whilst the two projects are distinct, because of their close proximity the project teams will be working together on a number of key elements of the project assessment including baseline assessments for Marine Mammal and Sea Birds and Cumulative Impact. In fact DP Energy Ireland Ltd (a sister company to DPME) has previously worked on wind energy developments with Bord Gáis in Ireland so an existing co-operative relationship already exists.


DP Marine Energy Ltd (DPME)

DPME is one of a number of DP Energy Group companies which have been involved in the development of renewable energy projects in the UK, Ireland and overseas for almost 20 years. The DP Group have a proven track record in delivering renewable energy projects from green field through to operation and has developed over 180MW of operational wind farm projects the first being the Bessy Bell Wind Farm in County Tyrone in 1995

The key members of the DPME team have substantial experience in relation to obtaining renewable energy consents for major projects, finance, construction and operation experience for onshore wind, and direct engineering experience in the development, installation and commissioning of utility scale power generation.

Since 2007 DPME has been active in the marine sector and in addition to the Fair Head project is also developing a tidal stream project off the coast of Islay in SW Scotland


DPME has built up experience in marine energy technical and consenting capability through its work in developing the Islay site from pre-scope through scoping and environmental impact assessment (EIA) implementation and will bring this experience to the Fair Head project. An application for consent for the Islay project will be lodged in early 2013.

 DEME Blue Energy (DBE)

DEME is a Flemish marine construction group with roots going back 150 years and is one of the World’s leading contractors in the marine construction sector and a pioneer in the development of offshore wind energy. The DEME group has significant in-house resources for marine construction and installation works including a large specialised fleet and support plant and equipment. In the tidal energy field DEME has direct experience with installing the SeaGen device at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland utilising one of its heavy lift vessels the Rambiz (Fig 4). DEME Blue Energy (DBE) is a direct subsidiary of the DEME Group and was established specifically to both develop and invest in wave and tidal energy projects.

 Project Location

The development area lies within The Rathlin Island and Torr Head Strategic Area at around 2km to the east of Fair Head off the north Antrim coast and around 1km at its nearest point to land. It occupies an area of approximately 3km square is centred on Latitude 55.231 N and Longitude 6.107 W

Site Description


The British Geological Survey (Malin sheet 55N 08W Sea Bed Sediments and Quaternary) based on grab samples and shallow core indicates that the development area consists of an extensive rock outcrop with gravelly sediments. The majority of the area from Fair Head to Torr Head falls under the category of “Shallow course sediment plains”. This description refers to an area of seabed characterised by course sediments with strong currents.


As defined in Notice to Mariners No 17, The North Channel Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), under the authority of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) lies within the vicinity of the development site. The Rathlin Island Ferry operated by Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd provides nine daily crossings between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle on the mainland.There are no Marine Environmental High Risk Areas (MEHRA) within or adjacent to the development site.

Water Depths

Water depths have been determined from Admiralty data, the British Geological Survey Map Data and detailed bathymetric survey of the waters around the north coast undertaken as part of the Joint Irish Bathymetric Survey (JIBS). Depth varies from 25 to 130m LAT the seabed characterised with a steeply sloping gradient to around 50m from the headlands out to around 1km. The gradient levels off into the North Channel to around 120m out to around 4km.


The tidal resource resulting from the flood and ebb tides flowing through the North Channel is largely developed by the flow being accelerated through the narrow passage between the Scottish and Northern Irish landmasses. Local bathymetric effects also act to further accelerate the flow by constraining it in a vertical direction.

A resource assessment has been undertaken utilising acoustic doppler current profilers (ADCP), and a resource model developed and calibrated based on this measured data. The model enables predictions of resource for specific areas and an assessment and prediction of the likely asymmetric flow resulting from the flood and ebb tides. The mean spring peak tidal velocities have been determined to be in excess of 3m/s (msp).

Proposed Development

The project will be split into two distinct elements for EIA and consent; the marine works including turbines, subsea cables and associated offshore infrastructure below HMSWL; and the onshore works including landfall, shore cabling, substation, operation and maintenance facility and onward connection to the grid system above LMSWL.

This approach is for two reasons, the first is that the regulators who will deem consent are different bodies for marine and onshore works with DETI advising on marine aspects and The Planning Service for onshore works (plus the local council for infrastructure). The second reason is that currently an onshore grid connection application requires an accompanying planning consent for the development site.

 Marine Works

Turbine Technology

The proposal has been based on a device technology, neutral approach. It is however acknowledged that an entirely neutral approach is not possible and a clear understanding of technology types (and likely candidate machines) is essential to make the EIA process meaningful.

Given the physical constraints and resource of the development site, an envelope has been developed based on a generic design philosophy using Horizontal axis tidal turbines (HATT) with open rotors, and either floating and moored, or sea bed mounted by drilling/piling or gravity mounting. Both surface and non-surface piercing structures are also considered part of the design envelope.

sea gen

Marine Current Turbines – SeaGen S Mark 2 – (2MW)

Design Layout – Array Spacing

Whilst analytical models are being developed, at this time there is no practical experience for array spacing definition (the spacing between turbines across and parallel to the flow). However, preliminary indicative layouts are based on a spacing of 500m (25 diameters) downstream by 150m across (7.5 diameters).

Rotor Diameter – Turbulence and Depths

The turbine rotor diameter selected will be limited by the depth of water available. General criteria of a 6m clearance between the blade tip and seabed has been defined and a 5m clearance (at LAT) between blade tip and surface. This, for example, would require a minimum 31m water depth for a 20m rotor diameter. The figure below summarises these typical dimensions / depths outlined above.

Figure 6: Typical Horizontal Axis Turbine depth parameters


Inter-array Cabling and Marshalling

Individual turbines will be connected to one or more subsea or surface mounted marshalling units containing both power conditioning equipment and transformers in order to increase the generated voltage to 33kV for transmission without significant losses. It is unlikely that a further step up in voltage to 110kV or 132kV will be necessary. Subsea substations at this scale are still unproven, and consequently the project approach is to utilise surface piercing such as the SeaGen S Mark 2 or floating devices to provide the marshalling points for the farm. The advantage of this approach is that principle connections can be undertaken dry with no requirement for underwater connections or the placement of key electrical equipment on the seabed.

Sub-sea Cabling to Shore

The detailed electrical design is yet to be completed but it is likely that multiple 33kV cables will be used to deliver the 100MW capacity to shore. One of the advantages of the Fair Head project is that since it is relatively close to the mainland, lower voltage cables can be utilised with minimal transmission losses without the requirement for a dedicated high voltage and expensive offshore transformer station. As far as possible, cable routes will avoid traversing areas of very high tidal flow and will be either trenched, pinned or protected by rock dumping or mattressing depending on the seabed characteristics. Installation methods and routing will be defined in more detail as part of the EIA to identify the most appropriate subsea and shoreline routing.

A typical subsea electricity cable will have a central core of either aluminium or copper plus some armouring / protective layers. The cable will also accommodate an optic fibre control cable. Typical cable cross section is illustrated below. Overall diameter of cables, rated at 33kv, will be in the range 200 – 250mm.

Onshore Works

Onshore Cable Routing to Sub-station

It will be necessary to underground the subsea cables from landfall to the substation location. This will accomplished by either trenching through the foreshore area or horizontal directional drilling (HDD) depending on the bedrock geology of the proposed landing locations. Detailed assessment of these areas will be required to identify the most appropriate method to use.

Onshore Sub-station and Control Building

The onshore substation location has yet to be defined and will be subject to a detailed assessment of potential landfalls and optimum locations from both EIA and final grid connection perspective. There is potential for both the Fair Head and Torr Head tidal projects to share a common substation and grid connection point but this has yet to be confirmed and the ultimate size and voltage of the station will depend on this decision. If both projects are brought into a common point ashore it is likely that the substation will need to transform the voltage of the incoming subsea cables to 110kV. A typical step up sub-station is shown  below.


It is expected that connection to the grid system will be by overhead line from the substation to the nearest node point on the grid but there may be sensitive areas where some undergrounding is required. Supports for the overhead line are likely to be wood poles.

Project Programme

 Project Phases

The project is envisaged to take place in four phases as follows:

• Design / permitting.

• Construction.

• Operation / maintenance.

• Decommissioning.

Phase 1 Design / permitting.

The major elements envisaged are as follows:

• Scoping report and preliminary consultation

• Site surveys to baseline the site, confirm currents and seabed bathymetry.

• Evaluation of tidal technologies and selection of devices for the project.

• Location of individual devices.

• Subsea cabling design and routing

• Preparation of the EIA and submission of the Environmental Statement.

• Consent and permits/licences awarded.

The current target is to submit an application for consent in the first half of 2014.

Phase 2 Construction

The project as currently envisaged will have a total installed capacity of 100MW consisting of individual devices of approximately 1.0 to 2.0MW each. Construction is expected to be phased over a number of years with installation mainly taken place in the months between March and November due to available weather windows and subject to environmental considerations. Construction start dates are heavily dependent on securing an onshore grid connection but it is planned to have the site in full operation by the end of 2019.

Construction methods vary between technologies but generally require foundation units to be transported to the site and deployed at predetermined locations, pinned and grouted into predrilled sockets well in advance of the turbine equipment arrival.

Typically heavy lift jack up barges are used to erect the turbine equipment onto the foundation structure although other methodologies using DP vessels may also used.

Cables are normally loaded on the specialist cable installation vessel at home port and the mobilised direct to site.

In addition to the main installation vessels a number of supply and safety vessels will be required.

Cable landings will also require the use of smaller inshore vessels and cables are typically floated in to the landing location guided by smaller craft at high tide. The cable is then positioned over a prepared trench or horizontally directionally drilled conduit and lowered into position at low tide.

The North Antrim region has several harbours and ports. Large harbours on the east coast include Larne and Belfast which would be the nearest major port to support machine installation. Smaller harbours at Ballycastle, Port-aleen Bay, Cushendun and Cushendall which serve the local fishing and leisure craft industry would be suitable bases for survey, installation support and maintenance craft.

Phase 3 Operation / Maintenance.

The units will be operated remotely via the optic fibre control cable incorporated with the electrical cables. In addition to the inbuilt controls on the units themselves the control cable will control the start and stopping of the units and pitch the blades to maximise the output in harmony with the tidal forces. The cable will also return continuous output and monitoring data on the units themselves.

The units are expected to have a life span of approximately 25 years with major maintenance intervals every 5 years. Exact maintenance sequence will depend on specification and type of units selected. Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) will be used periodically, 1 to 3 years, to carry out visual inspection of devices and cabling. Diver inspections will only be used when ROV data is unclear.

The devices will contain oils for lubrication, anti fouling agents and hydraulic fluids. Water is also being considered as a lubricant. Only recognised marine standard materials and substances will be used in the device.

Phase 4 Decommissioning

Decommissioning would normally involve the removal of the turbines and full equipment from site using jackup barges and restoration of the site to as near its natural condition as possible. However, decommissioning may cause significant environmental impact in its own right and it is likely that after 25 years significant colonisation of the support structure will have evolved and an artificial reef formed. Further discussion of decommissioning method and degree will be necessary at the time. A Decommissioning Plan will be drawn up as part of the project and all aspects of the decommissioning will undergo environmental impact assessment which will inform the final decision making process as to the best option.

Fair Head_Description_ final 201212[1]

Tidal Energy: Assembly needs to match the ambition of Scottish Government

1 03 2013


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called for the Assembly to match the ambition of the Scottish Government with regard to support for Tidal Energy projects.
Councillor Cunningham said “The Scottish Government have recently announced that they are providing £3 million to expand tidal energy testing facilities as well as a £1.1 million project to assess the way that support vessels are used to install and maintain wave and tidal devices.”
“I am a keen supporter of the two tidal energy projects due for Fair Head and Torr Head but we need to accelerate growth and generate further private investment in this sector. At a Renewable Energy Seminar I attended recently local industry voiced their interest in developing tidal energy test centre facilities in the Ballycastle area.”
“The Fair Head and Torr Head projects are only a number of miles from similar Scottish projects in the Western Isles, it is important that we match the ambition of our near neighbours who have positioned themselves as world leaders in the tidal energy sector.”

Ballycastle (Tidal Energy Centre of Excellence)

16 02 2013

Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed the suggestions coming from the Tidal Energy industry that Ballycastle could become a centre of excellence for manufacture and design testing.
He said “I recently attended a Renewable Energy seminar, and two major companies expressed a desire to further develop a research centre which would provide support for the emerging tidal energy sector.
Such a centre would encourage growth and build strong links with the local business community. Ballycastle would be an ideal location for such a research centre especially with two tidal energy projects on our doorstep.
A Research centre would link in well with both Universities”
Councillor Cunningham continued “Harnessing the energy of wave and tidal currents to generate electricity is less risky and more predictable than wind or solar power, and advanced technology to make marine energy a widespread reality is making strong gains, Ballycastle can be at the heart of this technology.” 
“Tidal, Marine and hydrokinetic power systems offer one of the most promising areas for renewable energy development the technology is improving rapidly.”
Councillor Dónal Cunningham has welcomed the suggestions coming from the Tidal Energy industry that Ballycastle could become a centre of excellence for manufacture and design testing.
He said “I recently attended a Renewable Energy seminar, and two major companies expressed a desire to further develop a research centre which would provide support for the emerging tidal energy sector.
Such a centre would encourage growth and build strong links with the local business community. Ballycastle would be an ideal location for such a research centre especially with two tidal energy projects on our doorstep.
A Research centre would link in well with both Universities”
Councillor Cunningham continued “Harnessing the energy of wave and tidal currents to generate electricity is less risky and more predictable than wind or solar power, and advanced technology to make marine energy a widespread reality is making strong gains, Ballycastle can be at the heart of this technology.” 
“Tidal, Marine and hydrokinetic power systems offer one of the most promising areas for renewable energy development the technology is improving rapidly.”

Grid infrastructure must support Tidal Energy projects

6 02 2013


Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has called on the Department Of Enterprise Trade and Investment to support the two Tidal Energy projects off Torr Head and Fair Head by appropriate investment in the grid infrastructure and by working to allow earlier application for grid connection.

Speaking after the two consortia who have been awarded rights to develop the Tidal Energy projects met with Moyle Council, Councillor Cunningham said “Tidal Energy has vast potential and we can all benefit from its use, a significant portion of our energy needs can be met through the use of tidal energy.”

“We need to see more support and greater ambition from all the relevant Government Departments to make this type of alternative energy a reality.”

Tidal energy is considered a more reliable form of power than wind, largely due to the predictability and ever present nature of tidal forces.

Greater support needed for Tidal energy projects

23 01 2013

OpenHydro turbine
In advance of a meeting with Tidal Ventures a joint venture between Bord Gáis and its tidal energy partner OpenHydro who are to develop a 100MW tidal energy farm off Torr Head, Co Antrim, Ballycastle SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham said “Tidal Energy has vast potential and we can all benefit from its use, a significant portion of our energy needs can be met through the use of tidal energy.”
“We need to see more support and greater ambition from the Assembly to make this type of alternative energy a reality.”
“Tidal energy technology is still in a state of infancy, but researchers believe that the right amount of support from the government will help propel this technology to new heights. If Assembly support was ambitious enough, tidal energy systems would not be a distant future solution, rather one that we could make use of in a few short years. Only a matter of miles from the Antrim coast, the Scottish Government is showing greater ambition and progress with a number of tidal energy sites”
Researchers note that the process of harnessing the power of the ocean remains very expensive, but the potential benefits that could be found through the use tidal energy could significantly offset those costs. Tidal energy is considered a more reliable form of power than wind, largely due to the predictability and ever present nature of tidal forces.