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Pulse Tidal plans array at Isle of Skye

Pulse Tidal is planning to place a commercially-viable tidal energy array at Kyle Rhea, the fast-flowing straits between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Mainland.

Operating in shallow waters close to the shore, Pulse Tidal says the electricity could be delivered at an installed cost of £4million/MW.

The Kyle Rhea straits have the potential to produce 20 MW.

ROCs needed

Pulse Tidal says its tidal energy system is set to give a 15% return on investment (ROI) if the hoped-for harmonisation of ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates) for tidal and wave energy is implemented in Scotland, meaning both forms of energy have five ROCs.

With the current three ROC system the Pulse device will give a 10% ROI.

Pulse chief executive Bob Smith says: “In these shallow waters a single Pulse device can generate 1.2 MW, while other technologies would generate considerably less. This means an energy company could invest in an array of Pulse devices and quickly produce energy at a profit.

“At £4m per MW we are delivering what the market needs to really kick-start the tidal energy boom, because in the medium and long-term the technology has to be cost-effective otherwise no-one will invest in it. Only through commercially-viable tidal arrays will we see anything like a truly worthwhile tidal energy sector.”

The Pulse Tidal system

The tidal energy system has horizontal blades that move up and down to drive a generator. The system sits on the sea-bed, fully submerged even in shallow water.

Pulse Tidal has begun a year-long environmental study ahead of an application to Marine Scotland for a licence to start producing the first 1.2 MW of tidal energy in 2012. Once successful, this could be increased to a 9.6 MW output by stringing 8 tidal power devices together.

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