Photo: Thames tidal test site location (Courtesy of PLA)

Thames tidal energy test site gets green light

Port of London Authority (PLA) has established a new test site for novel energy-generating technologies that will be powered by the tides of River Thames.

Image showing Thames tidal test site location (Courtesy of PLA)
Thames tidal test site location (Courtesy of PLA)

The mooring at Gallion’s Reach between Woolwich and Thamesmead, south east London, close to London City Airport, will enable promoters to test approaches for safe, sustainable energy generation in tidal inland waterways.

Technology providers are being invited to arrange a slot to use the mooring each year, having secured all relevant consents, according to PLA.

The test site is normally passed by a variety of vessels, large and small, including cruise ships and commercial cargo ships, as well as recreational river users

Tanya Ferry, head of environment at PLA, said: “Our research shows that the river could provide a power supply for operators and pier owners.

“Whilst traditional turbine technology is unlikely to be a viable option, due to the diminishing space available, this designated mooring provides developers opportunity to test other emerging technologies on the Thames.

“Safety is paramount. This site provides the best balance for safe trials, supported by a consenting regime to ensure negative impacts on wildlife and ecology are avoided too”.

Data from the trials will be used to inform future investment decisions, PLA said.

The site is based in Thamesmead, on the south side of the river in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The reach is Gallion’s Reach, and the mooring is just inside the Thames Barrier Control Zone, where the speed limit is 15 knots.