There is perhaps no better way to raise public awareness about tidal power than using a tidal power generator to provide electricity to a marine-themed attraction like The Deep—Yorkshire’s popular aquarium in the Hull. This project, which was approved last summer, is now closer to becoming a reality.
The Neptune Proteus, a robust tidal generator designed by East Yorkshire-based Neptune Renewable Energy, was towed to its position in the Humber estuary over the weekend. Workers will now begin commissioning the device over the next three months.
That process has already begun, with the installation of the Neptune Jetty, a low-lying steel bridge that enable maintenance workers to access the Neptune Proteus, and houses the power cables that connect it to electronic and power systems in The Deep’s control room. Next, the facility will powered up incrementally, to optimize power generation and ensure compliance with National Grid protocol. It will ultimately generate enough power to meet about a quarter of the aquarium’s electricity demand.
The U.K. has been providing substantial support for tidal and wave power. Last year, Climate Change Minister Greg Barker offered up to £20 million for marine energy industry development. In addition, the Crown Estate issued eight preliminary leases for wave and tidal energy projects—most of them in Scotland. Last month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change proposed new Renewable Obligation tariff levels, which increased the tariff rate for stream tidal generators like the Neptune Proteus from 2 to 5 credits per megawatt-hour (MWh).