A renewable energy project that will generate electricity from tidal power will begin in earnest this year with the expected formation of a special purpose company to secure financing and begin engineering work, project partner H&WB Asia Pacific (PTE LTD) Corporation said.
The energy firm, along with French marine energy industry specialists Sabella SAS, signed a Memorandum of Agreement in October 2015 to develop a “demonstration project” in the San Bernardino Strait between Matnog, Sorsogon and Northern Samar to test the viability of Tidal In-Stream Energy Conversion (TISEC) technology in the Philippines.
The government-owned Philippine National Oil Company-Renewables Corporation (PNOC RC) signed an agreement in October 2016 on three Department of Energy service contracts for tidal power development.
Tidal in-stream energy is produced by submerging a turbine in a deep, narrow channel where it is turned by natural tidal flow to generate electricity. The installation planned for the San Bernardino Strait is similar to one installed by Sabella off Ushant, France, and will be used to supply power to the small islands of Capul and San Antonio, which currently rely on diesel generator power.
The installation planned in the San Bernardino Strait would consist of three to five turbines resting on the seafloor. Each 10-meter turbine is capable of generating 1 megawatt (MW) of electricity, according to information from Sabella.
Since late 2015, H&WB and Sabella have conducted bathymetric and 3D mapping in order to determine the ideal location for the project.
H&WB said the next step in the process would be the formation of a special purpose company, a joint venture between H&WB and Sabella, “within the first half of this year.”
The special purpose company will allow the partnership to secure project financing and begin actual engineering work, which includes preparation of the seabed site for the turbines, and the initial grid connection to Sapul Island.
According to data from the US-based Energy Information Agency, tidal and other forms of ocean power are estimated to be able to provide from 100 to 400 percent of the world’s current energy needs. Although it presents engineering challenges, tidal power is considered a promising energy source as it has no emissions and produces little to no other unwanted environmental effects.