The first tidal energy generator demo is now installed and ready for operations testing off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales. The DeltaStream turbine is a great example of the groundbreaking inventions that have come out of the search for natural resources to power eco-friendly, sustainable energy solutions. When it is fully operational, the generator is expected to power as many as 10,000 Welsh homes as part of a new renewable energy system stationed completely offshore.
DeltaStream works thanks to the 49-foot generator turbine mounted on a freestanding, underwater base. The turbine’s flexibility of movement allows it to harness the power of tides as they ebb and flow in their natural patterns, whereas the DetlaStream’s gravity-based foundation helps it stabilize itself and stay upright without having to be anchored into the ocean floor. Overall, the structure weights 200 tons, stands nearly 60 feet high, and stretches over is 52 feet long. The generator is also connected to the power grid, which simplifies resource distribution.
Richard Ayre has been credited with the original invention of the DeltaStream technology, and local Cardiff developers Tidal Energy Ltd. scaled his invention to its current version. Two weeks of testing at an offshore test site in the Ramsey Sound will prepare the tidal turbine for full operational status. In the meantime, Tidal Energy Ltd. has raised about $21.6 million in investments to help make the generator a reality. The Welsh government has also pledged a sum of about $11.5 million to support the homegrown renewable energy project. Once Tidal Energy Ltd. gets the green light from the testing phase, the final generator system will play host to nine individual DeltaStream structures.
One of the most positive benefits of DeltaStream as a renewable energy solution is its minimal impact on its physical surroundings. The natural underwater ecosystem should remain largely undisturbed while DeltaStream converts the ocean’s tides to power. When the full system is complete, nine DeltaStream turbines will work together to generate cheap, sustainable energy for thousands of people living in Wales.