University works with international partners on €47 million tidal energy project

The University of Plymouth is among the partners in a new multi-million pound project that is set to be a game changer in the European tidal energy sector.

TIGER (The Tidal Stream Industry Energiser Project) is an ambitious €46.8 million project that will see turbines submerged offshore to harness the energy of tidal currents, which will then be converted into electricity.

The project aims to drive the growth of tidal stream energy by installing up to 8 MW of new tidal capacity at sites in and around the Channel region, thus driving innovation and the development of new products and services.

It is the biggest ever Interreg project, with a grant of €28 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund via the European Union’s Interreg France (Channel) England Programme.

The University of Plymouth, which has a world-leading reputation in various aspects of offshore renewable energy, is one of the key academic partners in the project. Its role will include modelling the tidal currents at different sites, and analysing tidal current and turbulence data. These steps are essential for informing tidal device operation planning and design.

Dr Jon Miles, Associate Head of the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, said:

“This is a particularly exciting project because it involves deploying full scale turbines at a number of high energy sites. We are extremely pleased to be able to contribute tidal flow modelling and data analysis skills to the project, and are looking forward to working with the wide range of European academic and industrial partners involved.”

Professor Deborah Greaves OBE heads up the Supergen ORE Hub, created with £9 million funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to champion and maintain the UK’s wave, tidal and offshore wind expertise. She added:

“It's great to be part of this exciting project, working with our partners in the UK and France and contributing to the development of tidal stream energy. Tidal stream energy is an important component of our future energy mix and along with wave energy, could produce 15-20 per cent of the UK's electricity needs.”

Led by the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, TIGER comprises 19 partners from across the UK, France and Sweden, spanning turbine developers, ocean energy demonstration sites, research organisations, as well local and regional authorities.

TIGER will make a stronger, more cost-effective case for tidal stream power to become part of the energy mix in the UK and France, by collaborating and sharing best practice through a number of European in-stream tidal energy deployments.

As well as the clear environmental benefits, and the reliability of tidal stream energy, coastal communities will benefit from tidal stream energy through future investment and the job creation associated with the supply chain and device management.

Carolyn Reid, Programme Manager for Interreg France (Channel) England Programme, said:

“This is a hugely ambitious project that will demonstrate the benefits of harnessing tidal energy on a large scale. The long-term aim is to support the industry to reduce generating costs of tidal stream energy from the existing 300€ MW/h to 150€ MW/h by 2025 and increase uptake.

“TIGER is a shining example of how European funding has enabled collaboration between organisations in the UK and France that may otherwise never have happened, and in this case could have a massive impact on reducing the carbon footprint beyond the lifetime of the project, and beyond the Channel area.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Research & Innovation Director for ORE Catapult, added:

“We are delighted to be spearheading this game-changing tidal energy project. Developing successful UK and European collaborations is important for the UK tidal energy industry and will help accelerate the economic, environmental and societal benefits which can be derived from this emerging sector. 

“This project brings together multiple organisations from across the UK and French supply chains to work towards validating the pathway to commercialisation, ensuring that sustainable, predictable and affordable tidal electricity plays a role our future energy mix as we tackle the global climate emergency.”

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