An agreement has been signed to develop a huge tidal power field off the South Korean coast. The joint venture between Lunar Energy and Korean Midland Power Company will develop the tidal power plant in the Wando Hoenggan waterway at a construction cost of £500 million.
The scheme will use power from fast-moving tidal streams to turn a field of 300 60-foot high tidal 1MW turbines sitting on the sea floor. This gives the proposed scheme an operating capacity of 300MW. According to the press release, the power produced from the tidal power plant will generate enough electricity for 200,000 homes and will be completed by the end of 2015. Seems to me there’d be lots of scope to expand the project if necessary though.
The manufacture and installation of the tidal turbines will be carried out by Hyundai Heavy Industries while Aberdeen-based research and development company Rotech Engineering will provide the specialist components.
According to a Lunar Energy spokesman “It is intended that full resource research and feasibility be completed by July of this year with the installation of a 1MW pilot plant by march 2009.
“Each one megawatt unit has a turbine diameter of 11.5m and a fully ballasted weight in excess of 2500 tons. Rotech tidal turbines can be easily grouped to suit tidal streams in locations worldwide.”
This is the kind of project that could make the proposed £15 billion Severn Barrage project, which has been facing mountains of environmentally based opposition, obsolete. It will also open up an enormous potential for future developments in the oceans worldwide. If proven, we could be witnessing the pioneering of the energy system of the future for coastal cities with potential energy levels in the tens of thousands.