Page last updated at 07:25 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Seabed electricity generator test

Artist's impression of DeltaStream unit
Cardiff-based Tidal Energy Ltd is hoping to stage a year-long trial of its DeltaStream device off Pembrokeshire (Image: Tidal Energy Ltd)

A renewable energy company plans to test a new underwater generator just off the Pembrokeshire coast.

Cardiff-based Tidal Energy Ltd has planning permission for onshore works and is now seeking consent to place its DeltaStream device on the seabed.

A year-long trial is due to be held at Ramsey Sound, near St Davids.

The company said its tidal generator, capable of producing enough electricity to light around 1,000 homes, was at the cutting edge of green technology.

Invented by Pembrokeshire engineer Richard Ayre, each unit features three generators that sit on a triangular frame.

It is designed to be easily lowered onto and recovered from the seabed using a floating crane.

The company said its distinctive blade design enabled the turbine automatically to shed excess power, permitting consistently high energy conversion.

Ramsay Sound in Pembrokeshire
The device will sit on the seabed at Ramsay Sound, near St Davids

Planning approval has been granted by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority for the onshore works.

The company has now applied to both the UK and Welsh assembly governments for consent for the offshore works which include laying a cable and positioning one DeltaStream device on the seabed.

Chris Williams, development director of tidal energy, said a "comprehensive" environmental impact assessment had been undertaken.

A public exhibition of the plans is due to be held later this month.

The company is hoping to start the trial in autumn next year.

Mr Williams said: "The next public exhibition is to update the local community on the project, and particularly to discuss and explain the findings of the environmental assessments.

"Areas that have been assessed are far-reaching, ranging from bird life, to mammals, tourism and ecology.

"We invite anyone with an interest in the project to come along and talk with us about the details of the proposed 12-month test."

The exhibition will be held from 1400 to 1700 GMT on Friday, 20 November and 1000 to 1300 GMT on Saturday, 21 November at Curtis House on Bryn Road in St Davids.

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