With the onshore application given local planning consent in summer 2015, the PTEC project at 30MW is now the largest consented tidal stream energy project in England and Wales. It has also secured its future connection to the UK’s electricity grid.
PTEC is operated as a joint venture between a private company, Perpetuus Energy Ltd, and the Isle of Wight Council. It is hoped that the construction of the project will start in 2017, with potential to be generating electricity from late 2018.
A number of tidal turbine manufacturers have already expressed interest in partnering with PTEC to install their turbines. Once operational, PTEC will generate sufficient clean electricity to power more than 15,000 homes with a total expected output of 65,000kWh per year.
PTEC will fill the gap for technology and tidal array developers between testing a prototype device and installing and operating arrays of devices.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which formed part of the consent application which PTEC Ltd has been completed and was submitted in the fourth quarter of 2014.
A Front End Engineering Design (FEED) study was also completed for PTEC Ltd, by renewable energy specialists IT Power. The FEED study helped PTEC Ltd to decide on a number of design and technology details which was assessed during the EIA process.
The development site will provide between 3 to 6 berths for tidal devices to be deployed, with a subsea export cable(s) for each berth to bring the electricity ashore. The subsea export cables will come ashore at Castle Cove to the west of Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. As part of the project, a small substation and control room will be constructed onshore along with associated works.
The PTEC development site is proposed to be situated approximately 2.5km south of St Catherine’s Point, Isle of Wight, with the development site being no greater than 5km2 in area. The development site will then be connected to shore by electricity export cables which will come ashore on the south coast of the Isle of Wight.
All kinds of tidal devices can be installed at PTEC.
PTEC will provide facilities for up to 60 tidal devices, with an aggregated maximum capacity of up to 30MW.
The 5km2 development site will be segregated into a number of berths (a maximum of 6 berths and a minimum of 3 berths). Each berth will consist of a defined area, leased to a developer in which they will demonstrate their tidal technologies.
Berth capacities may vary between 1MW and 10MW (to a total of 30MW) and tidal device capacities may vary from 100kW (0.1MW) to 6MW
PTEC will provide developers with grid connection infrastructure via subsea export cables, as well as navigation aids and site monitoring equipment to allow developers to utilise the area to demonstrate their tidal technologies.
The consenting process, commenced in January 2013 and involved significant consultation. A request for scoping opinion (Scoping Report) was submitted in January 2013 for the PTEC project, at that time known as the Solent Ocean Energy Centre (SOEC), Scoping opinions were received from statutory regulators and representations from a number of other interested parties and agencies. Comments and advice received as responses to the scoping consultation were used to direct the studies and assessments undertaken during the subsequent environmental impact assessment (EIA) and also to identify parties with which ongoing consultation was required.
Any potential environmental and community impacts were closely examined. The Marine Management Organisation gave final consent in April 2016.
PTEC will continue to work closely with the Isle of Wight Council, the Marine Management Organisation, Natural England and other stakeholders to minimise any potential impacts on the environment of the Isle of Wight and its surrounding seas.
6 export cables grouped into 3 bundles of 2 cables each
Various cable landfall locations were considered. The selected landfall location is Castle Cove to the west of Ventnor. Landfall options within the onshore site include:
• Cables trenched/buried, making landfall adjacent to the existing slipway;
• Using an existing 600 mm diameter outfall pipe as a cable duct for some or all of the export cables; or
• Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) under the shoreline from a suitable location close to the proposed substation/control room, with cable emerging in the shallow subtidal for connection to the marine export cables.
In July 2017 it was announced that PTEC would be put on hold amid reports the centre was unable to rival the process of offshore wind in the latest UK Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction.
The UK Government opted not to ring-fence funding for marine energy in this latest allocation round which meant PTEC could not compete on price with more mature renewable energy sectors.
The project received all key consents in 2016, and was due for full operations starting from 2020.