Tidal Energy Plans to Raise 50 Million Pounds for Welsh Project

Tidal Energy Ltd., a U.K. maker of turbines that harness the power of the tides to generate electricity, plans to start looking for 50 million pounds ($83 million) next year for its first commercial-scale project.

The company is working with Eco2 Ltd. to raise funds to deploy a 10-megawatt tidal power facility at St. Davids Head in west Wales, Martin Murphy, managing director of Cardiff-based TEL, said in an interview. The project will probably comprise eight turbines, with construction on the facility starting in 2017 and power generation about a year later, he said.

The turbine maker is currently deploying a 400-kilowatt prototype device at Ramsey Sound for at least a year of testing, Murphy said by phone. It aims to gather data to feed into the production of future systems and also assess its impact on the environment.

Developing technologies that use the waves and tides for generating electricity is taking longer than hoped and costing more than expected, according to a report published today by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The researcher said it expects about 148 megawatts of tidal energy to be installed by 2020, about 11 percent lower than its original 167-megawatt forecast.

TEL also plans to raise money for continued development work through next year and into 2016, Murphy said. “If you look at the model that seems to have been quite common among other technology developers in the sector, all those who have devices in the water have secured in one way or another, large corporation interest,” he said.

Siemens AG, Alstom SA, Andritz AG, ABB Ltd. and DCNS SA have bought stakes in wave and tidal businesses.

“There is the opportunity still for us to attract corporate interest in the company because I do think that would add a huge weight to our momentum and our critical mass,” Murphy said. The company is in “open dialogue” with corporations and hopes to be in a “good position” in the middle of next year, he said.

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