THE installation of Wales’ first full-scale tidal turbine off the Pembrokeshire coast has moved a step closer.

The company behind it, Tidal Energy Limited (TEL), has handed out the last of its supply contracts, taking the number of businesses involved in the project to 21.

Its DeltaStream prototype is due to undergo harbour trials in Milford Haven later this year, before it is deployed on Ramsey Sound’s sea bed in 2014.

Here, it will generate clean electricity for the homes of St Davids over its 12-month demonstration period.

Invented by Pembrokeshire engineer Richard Ayre, the device sits on the seabed under its own gravity and comprises of three independent 400kW turbines mounted on a triangular frame.
TEL has awarded one of its final contracts to Mustang Marine, a Pembrokeshire boat-building company. It will construct the DeltaStream device at its Pembroke Port headquarters.

The company’s Managing Director, Kevin Lewis said: “We are delighted to be involved with TEL for the project. As marine engineers we have extensive experience in building structures and commercial vessels for the offshore wind farm market as well as work boats, pilot boats and passenger vessels.

“Tidal energy is a new area for us and we are very much looking forward to being a part of the team.”

Other companies involved in the project are industry leaders Siemans (gear hub), GE Energy (electrical power system) and Designcraft (rotor production).

TEL’s Managing Director Martin Murphy said: “Throughout the process we have focussed on managing the risk that is inherent in projects operating in the extremely challenging and hostile sub-sea environment.

“By appointing industry leading companies which have already built up considerable experience within the marine energy industry and have proven technologies, we have mitigated that risk as far as possible.”

Wales’ Economy minister Edwina Hart added: “Developing a marine renewable industry in Wales offers real opportunities for growth and jobs, particularly through supply chains. Helping to put Wales at the forefront of marine energy development, the Welsh Government has worked closely with the company, providing support through £8m of EU structural funds and in ensuring Welsh businesses are in a position to participate in, and benefit from this emerging sector in Wales."