GE-Andritz to build turbines for 320MW UK tidal lagoon project

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General Electric-Andritz Hydro consortium to build 16 huge turbines for ground-breaking £1bn tidal lagoon power project planned for South Wales.

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A consortium made up of General Electric and Andritz Hydro has been revealed as the team chosen to build 16 tidal energy turbines for a ground-breaking £1 billion tidal power project planned for Swansea Bay off the coast of South Wales.

Tidal Lagoon Power said on Tuesday that GE-Andritz had won a £300 million contract to build the turbines –  each 60ft long, 20ft high and capable of producing 20MW/h – that will generate power from the rise and fall of the water in the Severn Estuary, which boasts the second highest tidal range in the world.Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 12.08.18 PM

Once built, the project – the world’s first man-made, energy-generating lagoon – will have 320MW installed capacity and provide 14 hours of reliable generation every day – enough to power more than 155,000 homes for 120 years.

As part of the winning contract – announced on Tuesday – US-based GE and Andritz (Austria) committed to produce the majority of the turbines’ major components in the UK, along with all of the generators they contain. The generators, the highest value component of the turbines, will be built at GE’s UK plant in Rugby.Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 12.26.24 PM

Once built, the turbines will be mounted on a huge seawall, where they will generate power by spinning as the tide rises and water flows through them, filling up the lagoon.

When the tide begins to fall, the process is reversed, allowing the turbines to again generate power from the flow of water as the Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 12.09.42 PMlagoon empties.

As the reports, the Swansea lagoon is also hoped to act as a proof of concept for five larger such projects around the UK, which could ultimately provide 8 per cent of the UK’s energy.

At this stage, the huge project – which includes such extras as a mariculture farm and an electric tram running the length of a causeway surrounding the lagoon – is yet to get final planning approval.

But Wales Secretary of State Stephen Crabb says that, if consent is granted, the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon has the potential to transform the South Wales economy by creating hundreds of jobs and countless supply chain opportunities for local businesses across the region.

“It would also help secure our nation’s energy future and position Wales as a pioneer in low carbon technology. That’s why I am right behind this scheme and want to see it built in Wales,” Crabb said.

There is a great video about the project and its technology here.

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  1. lifeboatman 5 years ago

    Australia could do the same thing at King Sound in West Australia where there is one of the biggest tidal changes in the world. There is a chain of islands across the mouth of the Sound, these could be linked up by a series of tidal generators built up as individual units, and then floated into position, flooded and sunk as required. This was how the Mulberry Harbours were created on the coast of Normandy for the WW2 D Day invasion. If Abbott was not so vehemently opposed to Renewables, he could have a piece of world beating infrastructure that would put Australia as No2 behind France in Tidal Energy. Sadly however,he lacks imagination, preferring to live in the past & dine on coal dust. However, despite his assurances that he is about to change, the latest submarine fiasco has demonstrated that as we all know, the Leopard cannot change it’s spots, so his days are now numbered.

    • michael 5 years ago

      supplying power to… who?

  2. Chatteris 5 years ago

    What a splendid idea for an island nation!

  3. factorypreset 5 years ago

    This looks like an extremely interesting project, although its claim to be the world’s first energy-producing tidal lagoon ignores much of the early history of renewable energy. Hopefully GE can avoid some of the environmental and economic pitfalls of its predecessors, like the Boston Water Power Co’s Back Bay tidal project built in the early 1800s.

  4. George Michaelson 5 years ago

    Any construction project of this size is going to face huge pressures. The effect on the tidal basin will dog them for years as ecological impact assessment feeds into local aqua-industry (I saw it has mariculture inside the lake, but the displaced incomes from outside will be a lobby group) and other interest groups. The energy cost of the construction phase will be pretty big, and its hard not to imagine pretty dirty too: moving soil or sea/estuary bed involves pumping and dredging and creates a brown water issue with turbidity effects on dissolved oxygen, and we’re back in the lobby group from the local fisher communities. Swansea was an industrial port and so the risk of contamination is high: a century of coal dust, bilge discharge, and pembroke haven oil refinery up the coast..

    I really hope it comes off. I think its a good project. I am pessimistic about the willingness of people to do cost:benefit sums and get behind big projects because the interest groups include a huge post-industrial hair-shirt brigade who want a low energy society for other reasons. The Severn tidal bore has been on the energy radar for as long as I can remember, at least 40 years.

    I suspect the planning cycle to get it up will be of the same order.

    Given the phobia around hydrology and the coast, I wonder if the Dutch dyke system could be built now? Admittedly, they had massive floods in the 50s and 60s which rather drove a story home, but if they didn’t have the Zuider Zee wall, I suspect they would struggle to get it through process costs.

    Which leads me to suspect if we had Australian utilities with balls, actually driving into brownout due to lack of power might change peoples mind about what kind of capital investment profile they want for power. (hard to do, in a time of declining load)

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