Welsh tidal power developer Tidal Energy has signed an energy-supply deal with EDF, becoming one of the first tidal ventures in the world securing its spot in the grid.
The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the Cardiff-based firm and EDF Energy, the largest UK producer of renewable power, provides a guarantee that the energy giant will purchase electricity and renewable certificates from the DeltaStream tidal power plant in the first year of its operations at a pre-agreed price.
“DeltaStream is not just about proving a new, innovative technology – it is about proving that tidal power can make a real and lasting contribution towards the UK’s renewable energy targets and energy security,” said Martin Murphy, managing director of Tidal Energy Ltd (TEL).
“Taking the first steps to commercialisation, by securing a buyer for the electricity generated, is essential to that. We are proud that this cutting-edge project is, once again, breaking new ground and ensuring Wales is playing a central role in the race to develop the UK’s significant tidal resources.”
The company unveiled a prototype device developed by its engineers at Pembroke Port in August this year. The generator will be later installed in Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire, where it will begin producing clean renewable power for Welsh homes.
The deal, ensuring revenues for TEL not only from the electricity market but also from the Renewables Obligation scheme of the UK government, will provide financial security to the developers as well as confidence to future investors.
The UK government has earmarked tidal power as a priority technology and decided to support its development by allocating a subsidy of five Renewable Obligation Certificates for each unit of electricity generated.
Tidal power is seen as promising by many experts not only because it is perfectly renewable but also for its stability and predictability, a major advantage over the unpredictable wind energy.
“The UK needs electricity generation from a range of low-carbon sources,” said Dan Brimelow, export sales and procurement manager at EDF Energy. “Technologies like tidal power help improve the diversity of electricity supplies and reduce our reliance on imported energy, which is good for the country’s future energy security.”