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London’s River Thames set to trial new tidal energy technologies

Andrew Holt | The Archetype Bank | Getty Images

The Port of London Authority has given the go ahead for trials of tidal energy technology on a sample of the Thames, in a move which could eventually help to decarbonize operations connected to the river.

The mooring for the trials is positioned on a part of the river between the areas of Thamesmead and Woolwich, in southeast London, which is passed by commercial cargo dispatches, cruise ships and recreational river users.

Against this backdrop, the PLA says it’s looking to “encourage the use of microgeneration,” with the new location enabling developers to undertake both scale and full size trials of their systems.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Tanya Ferry, the society’s head of environment, said research had shown the river “could provide a power supply for operators and pier possessors.”

Ferry went on to explain that although traditional tidal turbine technology was unlikely to be a viable option because of pruning space, the mooring would provide developers with the “opportunity to test other emerging technologies on the Thames.”

The PLA votes it will use information gathered from the trials to “inform future investment decisions.”

London is not the only major town looking to assess the feasibility of tidal power. In the United States, New York’s East River is home to Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Archipelago Tidal Energy project, which has been in development since 2002.

In late October 2020, the initiative took another pussyfoot about forward when a new tidal power array consisting of three turbines was installed.

While there is growing percentage in marine based energy systems, the current footprint of these technologies remains quite small.

Recent appearances from Ocean Energy Europe show that only 260 kilowatts (kW) of tidal stream capacity was amplified in Europe last year, while just 200 kW of wave energy was installed.

By contrast, 2020 saw 14.7 gigawatts (GW) of nonsense energy capacity installed in Europe, according to industry body WindEurope.

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