Search

Harnessing the huge power of the waves

PUBLISHED: 13:30 21 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:29 05 July 2010

PIONEERING wave energy technology - set to be tested off Suffolk - could also reduce coastal erosion, it has been revealed.

Essex-based Trident Energy is seeking permission to site its prototype wave energy converter six miles off the coast at Southwold by the spring.

PIONEERING wave energy technology - set to be tested off Suffolk - could also reduce coastal erosion, it has been revealed.

Essex-based Trident Energy is seeking permission to site its prototype wave energy converter six miles off the coast at Southwold by the spring.

If successful, it could be the forerunner for a series of wave farms off the east coast and elsewhere around the UK's coastline.

The technology involves the use of generators which produce electricity via floats pushed up by the waves.

The Trident machine is particularly suitable for the east coast because it can operate with less powerful waves than those found out in the deep ocean.

However, if the idea is commercialised, a valuable spin-off for the east coast could be the role of such wave farms in removing the energy from waves and thus helping to reduce the rate of coastal erosion.

Hugh-Peter Kelly, Trident Energy's managing director, said: “These wave farms would certainly reduce the impact of waves on the shoreline.”

Mr Kelly said a site off Southwold had been chosen for the proposed trial because of the presence nearby of a wave-buoy, a device used by the Government's Cefas fisheries laboratories to measure wave strength.

“We also chose the east coast because we have found a great deal of willingness, co-operation and enthusiasm in this part of the county for renewable energies," he said.

Mr Kelly said there was enough energy in the sea around the UK to meet one fifth of the country's electrical needs.

“If we take it forward in the future it has the potential to provide a very considerable number of jobs and employment potential,” he said.

The trial equipment, being built at a Lowestoft boatyard, consists of a small platform, measuring about 15 metres square, supported by submerged pontoons anchored to the sea bed.

“The platform uses an entirely novel and British-invented noiseless technology to convert the massive potential energy of sea waves to electricity.

“At this stage it is a modestly-sized pilot but it represents an exciting potential addition to offshore wind power,” Mr Kelly said.

Trident is seeking permission from the Marine and Fisheries Agency to operate the trial for a year.

A spokesman for the agency said officers would seek the views of other organisations, including the Environment Agency, before coming to a decision.

The plans can be viewed at Southwold Tourist Information Office in High Street and comments can be made up to February 5.

I

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Lowestoft Journal

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists