This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 25, 2003

World's First Offshore Tidal Power Prototype Now Operating

A prototype turbine for producing power from tides is now generating power in the United Kingdom. The tidal power turbine resembles a wind turbine and has a rated power of 300 kilowatts. Located more than half a mile north of Foreland Point in northeast Devon, the device captures tidal flow in the Bristol Channel. The turbine is mounted on a column driven into the seabed and is bolted to an elevator-like structure, allowing it to be raised out of the sea for maintenance. Since it would be impractical to run a cable from a single prototype turbine to the shore, the prototype is not grid-connected, but is instead dumping the energy it generates into the ocean as heat. The unit is still being commissioned but is expected to start automatic operation in August, and will undergo extensive testing over the next year. See the announcement and photos from Marine Current Turbines, Ltd., one of the project developers.

Tidal and wave energy is all the rage in the U.K., so much so that a major renewable energy trade group, the Renewable Power Association (RPA), is sponsoring a wave and tidal energy technology symposium on July 17th. And in a country where most wind power projects are expected to be located offshore, the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) announced in May that it would work with Seapower Europe to promote wave and tidal energy as well. According to BWEA, that will allow a "single unified voice" for offshore renewable power in the U.K. See the RPA and BWEA announcements.