South West Wales

Giant tidal turbine placed on seabed off Pembrokeshire

DeltaStream tidal energy generator Image copyright Tidal Energy Ltd
Image caption The generator was built by Mustang Marine in Pembroke Dock

A giant tidal turbine was settled on the seabed between Ramsey Island and the mainland near St David's Head, Pembrokeshire, on Sunday.

The 12m (39ft) DeltaStream device could produce enough power for between 400 and 600 homes.

It was transported by an offshore construction vessel which usually works in the North Sea oil fields.

Operator Tidal Energy Ltd said there would be a two-week testing period before the unit would be operational.

The £16m project was devised by local engineer Richard Ayers in 2002 and since 2008 has had grants from the Welsh government and Europe, as well as the involvement of renewable energy investment company Eco2.

However, the turbine had been sitting on the quayside at Pembroke Dock for over a year and has earned itself the nickname of the Daffodil during its extended stay.

Image caption DeltaStream on the Siem Daya 1 construction vessel

Tidal Energy's managing director Martin Murphy said: "Today's installation will be followed by about two weeks of checking and testing before it will be possible to power energy into the system."

One generator will produce enough power for between 400 and 500 homes and rests on a triangular base which, when testing is completed, could be extended to take three generators.

This is all part of an ongoing project to prove the possibility of power from strong tidal currents like those in Ramsey Sound.

There are already similar devices in the seas off north Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern France, although this one is seen as a more sophisticated turbine, including improvements installed after learning from the earlier devices.

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