India approves Asia’s first commercial-scale tidal power project

The Indian state of Gujarat has approved Asia’s first commercial-scale tidal power project in the Gulf of Kutch.

The 50 MW tidal current power plant will be developed by UK company Atlantis Resources Corporation in partnership with Gujarat Power Corporation, with construction starting as early as 2011.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2011 with the State of Gujarat could see a total of 250 MW of tidal power developed in the region.

An initial economic and technical study of the Gulf of Kutch by Atlantis indicates as much as 300 MW of extractable tidal power, which could also be combined with offshore wind resources to create a ‘mega marine power project’.

The initial 50 MW tidal development, which will require hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, could ultimately be scaled-up to over 200 MW.

“Gujarat has significant resource in the waters of its coast, so tidal energy represents a huge opportunity for us,” says chair and managing director of Gujarat Power Corporation, Mr D. J. Pandian. “This project will be India’s and indeed Asia’s first at commercial scale and will deliver important economic and environmental benefits for the region, as well as paving the way for similar developments within Gujarat.”

Atlantis unveiled its AK1000™ 1 MW tidal turbine last summer, which features two sets of blades to capture tides whether ebbing or flowing.

The device, which took 10 years to develop and cost £5 million to manufacture, is the world’s largest tidal current device, its makers claim.

Atlantis is embarking on a three-year testing programme of the device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland.

Meanwhile, the Irish Government’s Sustainable Energy Association (SEAI) has agreed a 50:50 funding deal with Australian wave developer Carnegie Wave Energy for a €150,000 project to assess wave energy sites in Ireland.

The company’s Irish subsidiary, CETO Wave Energy Ireland, will undertake detailed site assessment and develop the design for a 5 MW commercial demonstration project.

Carnegie’s technology consists of an array of submerged buoys attached to seabed pumps. As the buoys move with passing waves, the pumps drive pressurised water ashore via a pipeline, where it is used to drive hydroelectric turbines, generating electricity.

And finally, New York-based Verdant Power has applied to US regulators to install up to 30 tidal power turbines in the city’s East River.

If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approves the application, the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) project would be the first of its kind in the US supply electricity to the national grid.

Verdant Power wants to install its fifth generation ‘Free Flow’ kinetic hydropower system, which uses three blades to harness the power of fast-moving tides and rivers.

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SUMIT KUMAR

Executive at India Electron Exchange

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