UK start-up seeks permits for tidal generator trial in Alderney waters (Video)

London-based start-up tidal energy developer Spiralis Energy has applied for permits to test a surface tidal energy generator in the waters of Alderney, which is a part of Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Source: Spiralis Energy

According to the States of Alderney, the trial could bring economic benefits and renewable energy. The Spiralis generator, a surface-mounted rotational screw device that sits at anchor, will not produce usable power during trials but will test its potential in Alderney’s tidal flow during the winter.

The proposal involves two ‘Axial Skelter’ power-generating screws, each about the length of a cricket pitch, mounted on a floating platform. Alderney’s Policy & Finance Committee (PFC) supports in principle the use of Alderney waters as a testbed under island plan energy objectives and has requested a detailed presentation from Spiralis before approving the trials.

“We are very interested in this proposal and await full details for discussion within our other committees. This is an opportunity for Alderney to use a small part of its tidal resources to show that Alderney is open for business as a tidal energy test site,” said PFC Chairman Nigel Vooght.

Spiralis, which is funded by grants and private equity,  plans to bid on Contracts for Difference (CfD) from the UK government, thus, it needs to show that its device works and can be commercialized. 

In the meantime, the company has consulted with the Alderney Harbour Office and the Harbour User Group to address concerns and discuss harbor fees, support vessel moorings, and assembly space for the trial. The company has already tested a scaled-down version of the generator successfully.

View on Youtube.

Alderney is one potential testing site and the European Marine Energy Centre in the Orkneys is perceived to be another. Spiralis is not seeking financial support from the States, which will set a fee for using Alderney waters for up to 12 months. 

Spiralis will need commercial and assembly space, business services, and local recruitment. According to the States of Alderney, if the trial succeeds, the company may establish a local branch and supply clean energy to Alderney’s grid at a low price.

The government of Alderney has recognized the value of renewables, inviting global tidal energy developers in June 2023 to submit proposals on how they would harness the estimated 3GW of tidal energy resources around the northernmost Channel island.

Related Article