Multi-million pound development hinges on wave power trials
The East of England’s coast is set to host trials of a technology which could rival wind power as the next source of renewable energy.
Southend company Trident Energy has applied to the Marine and Fisheries Agency for permission to install a test platform for its revolutionary new ‘green’ energy generation equipment, which harnesses the power of waves on the sea’s surface. The trials will test the viability of the technology, with the aim of attracting funding sufficient for a large-scale installation in the region. The prototype, being constructed in time to coincide with regulatory approval for the installation, will be a full scale version of a one fifth scale wave energy converter system Trident successfully tested with New and Renewable Energy Centre in Northumberland. Results from that trial indicated that a wave farm employing Trident’s technology and covering an area of just five hectares could be capable of supplying 100MW, with more recent calculations far out-stripping those predictions. Trident is looking to use results from the tests – to be conducted off the coast of Southwold – to attract the kind of funding required to build an installation capable of supplying electricity to 1,000 homes, reportedly around £200m. Trial results are expected at the end of April. Trident’s wave power technology could help offset the UK’s renewable energy deficit, providing an alternative to the nuclear power stations backed by Whitehall. Friends of the Earth says that wave power like Trident’s could match the electricity output of more than eight nuclear reactors. The situation of wave power facilities in rougher seas, where waves are more constant could ensure a continuous supply of electricity, previously a problem highlighted with the technology. Trident’s patented, revolutionary technology, which uses linear generators driven by floats being pushed up and down by wave motion, could help to move the UK toward a greener future.