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£18 Million Tidal Energy Scheme Stops Working After Three Months

January 3, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Cheshire Red





More taxpayers’ money down the drain.

From the Mail:


An £18million tidal energy scheme, which was supposed to power 600 homes, has stopped working after just three months.

The taxpayer-funded DeltaStream project in Pembrokeshire in Wales, was designed to use the flow of the ocean with a 39ft turbine installed on the seabed near Ramsey Island.

But the system developed a fault and stopped generating electricity just weeks after being turned on.

Its operator Tidal Energy Ltd has now gone into administration and is seeking a buyer.

The £18million 'wet elephant' received £8million funding of EU money and £500,000 from the Welsh Government

The £18million ‘wet elephant’ received £8million funding of EU money and £500,000 from the Welsh Government


The £18million ‘wet elephant’ received £8million funding of EU money and £500,000 from the Welsh Government.

The generator was fitted with a sonar radar to detect nearby wildlife including seals, porpoises and dolphins and would shut off if they came to close.

But the sonar developed an ‘intermittent fault’ in March 2016 – after being launched the previous December.

Development director Chris Williams of Tidal Energy Ltd said defended the massive cost of DeltaStream saying it was a ‘research’ project.

He said: ‘The project was a research and development project. It was never put in the water to generate massive amounts of electricity.

‘The purpose of the project was to provide the essential learning, new knowledge, know how and experience to progress the industry in Wales.

‘What we set out to do we did, 100 per cent.’

Mr Williams described the problem with the turbine as ‘an intermittent fault with an active sonar.’

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies said the project was at risk of becoming a ‘wet elephant’.

He said: ‘With over £8m of EU and Welsh Government funding tied up in this project, this is extremely concerning.


The taxpayer-funded DeltaStream project in Pembrokeshire in Wales, was designed to use the flow of the ocean with a 39ft turbine installed on the seabed near Ramsey Island

The taxpayer-funded DeltaStream project in Pembrokeshire in Wales, was designed to use the flow of the ocean with a 39ft turbine installed on the seabed near Ramsey Island


‘That the turbine is currently in a state of disrepair poses a serious hindrance to the administrators’ ability to find a buyer to take on the device and the rest of the company’s assets.

‘Labour once hailed the development of the turbine a ‘landmark project’ for Wales. It is sad and deeply frustrating to think of it now broken on the ocean bed.

‘I sincerely hope that a new buyer can step in to salvage this project and move it forward once again, and that it doesn’t just end up like a wet elephant, piled on the growing scrap heap of Labour’s failed investments.’

A Welsh Government spokeswoman confirmed a new buyer was being sought.

She said: ‘Tidal Energy Ltd’s EU funded project did achieve its primary objective and has provided a significant amount of learning to the sector and the local supply chain.

‘This has helped make Wales a key player in the developing marine energy industry and we are keen to build on this success.’


It is encouraging to learn that the project achieved its primary objective, which apparently was to find out that tidal power does not work, and that firms that invest in it are likely to go bust!

Meanwhile, I hope that those 600 homes, which were going to be powered by it, have managed to make other arrangements.

  1. John Palmer permalink
    January 3, 2017 10:52 am

    Quite the contrary, Paul – it has proven just how effective these schemes are at extracting vast amounts of dosh from the taxpayer via gullible and virtue-signalling public bodies – who should be made accountable, but never are.

  2. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    January 3, 2017 10:59 am

    No penalty is there? So, if the money is renewable then loadsa buyers about…actually I hope not!

  3. January 3, 2017 10:59 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Another fine example of how *other people’s money* is recklessly and carelessly spent under the virtue-signalling name of “green” energy!

    When does this constant waste of taxpayers money end??

  4. January 3, 2017 11:01 am

    It has to be said that this project has been covered by the BBC (locally in Wales) for several years. Initially it appears that it was a 1.2MW scheme to “power” 1,000 homes, but was built as a 400MW scheme to “power” 400 to 600 homes. I wonder if the money extracted from taxpayers and handed out to DeltaStream was for a 1.2MW project? It appears so. Somebody will no doubt have made a big profit from this scam.

    The BBC reporting over the years can be followed here:

    This waste is what you get when politicians do engineering with other peoples’ money.

  5. roger permalink
    January 3, 2017 11:04 am

    After such a resounding success, no doubt the Swansea Bay project will be a shoe in for approval by the May Government!
    The fruits of the money tree always adhere to the hands of the shaker.

  6. dangeroosdave permalink
    January 3, 2017 11:06 am

    Fascinating! I wonder how else electricity can be made? Isn’t it just electrons going in one end of my house and out the other?

    • david permalink
      January 3, 2017 12:50 pm

      “Isn’t it just electrons going in one end of my house and out the other?”

      Well actually, no. “Current” is a misnomer.

      There is an almost universal misunderstanding of the physics. The passage of electrons in a conductor is an EFFECT of the “electric current” which

      (1) actually exists in the surroundings of the conductor, and

      (2) is a phenomenon utterly unlike a current of, say, water.

      In any case, alternating current results in no net movement of electrons at all There is merely a slight ( one thousandth of a millimeter) back and forth surge confined to the skin of the conductor..

      • Wilbur permalink
        January 7, 2017 1:31 am

        The current (movement of ‘free’ electrons) is throughout the cross-section of the conductor, not just on it’s surface.

  7. Gray permalink
    January 3, 2017 11:21 am

    Only 18,000,000 quid washed away. Small beer compared with the £1,000,000,000 the Northern Ireland idiots have let themselves (i.e. us )in for.
    Millions are going to be spent to heat empty buildings using biomass in the cash for ash fiasco.
    Happy New Year!

    • January 3, 2017 11:39 am

      £18million is only about 50p per household – that’s why they all it free energy.

    • January 3, 2017 4:58 pm

      The subsidy was £8.5m the rest was investors money I guess.

  8. January 3, 2017 11:42 am

    “The £18million ‘wet elephant’ received £8million funding of EU money ”
    Not EU money, but ultimately by the UK taxpayer!

    • TinyCO2 permalink
      January 3, 2017 12:45 pm

      It will be part of what the Remain campaign said we didn’t send to the EU.

  9. Patsy Lacey permalink
    January 3, 2017 11:53 am

    The Isle of Wight Council have spent upwards of £3 million in a private public partnership with two island businessmen who have no experience in “unreliables” to install tidal turbines off the most unstable coastline in Europe and next to a WWs 1 & 2 munitions dump. It was sold to the gullible public by promising 600 jobs, the majority of which would be on the Island and cheap power for 15,000 homes.
    According to an FOI neither man’s name nor that of their company appears in any IOW Council document which begs the question how did they get involved at all? They are not investing in the project and instead are negotiating with a Dutch firm of turbine makers who admit that their balance sheet is dodgy.
    The cost of seabed restitution is estimated to be £9million when this scheme fails and will be underwritten by the Council which is nearly bankrupt and unable to fund its statutory duties.

  10. CheshireRed permalink
    January 3, 2017 12:10 pm

    Just one more ‘renewables’ failure to add to the lengthening list.

  11. Jack Broughton permalink
    January 3, 2017 1:35 pm

    So they got £8.5 m in grants, where did the rest come from, i.e did anyone apart from taxpayers lose any money on this scam?
    Was there actually a “rest” or was the £8.5m more than enough in fact: my guess anyway looking at the machinery in the photos.
    The people auditing these schemes are paper-pushing backside-coverers and are never accountable as they are following procedure / orders.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 3, 2017 1:43 pm

      There should be other funding since EU grants always require it. This is part of the con that in order to get a quid from the EU you need to spend 3 quid, and that is ignoring the fact that we gave the EU the quid in the first place.

  12. Jack Broughton permalink
    January 3, 2017 1:40 pm

    The UK used to be a world-leader in power engineering development until Maggie arrived and asset stripped the industry. The industry is now run by power-apologists to whom any man selling the emperor’s new clothes is welcomed with open arms and the clothes are bought.

    • Joe Public permalink
      January 3, 2017 6:59 pm

      Paul’s older readers may remember Tomorrow’s World’s favourite – Salter’s Duck – which showed that transposing laboratory success into reality can be a challenge:

      “The use of these three formulas allowed Swift-Hook to determine that Salter’s duck is able to convert “90% of the wave energy into mechanical energy”. However, this percentage was when the duck was tested in a laboratory. In varying types of realistic conditions, the efficiency of the duck varies wildly and often drops to around 50%, as ducks are more often used in rough weather in order to convert enough wave power. Conversely, ducks are not useful in calm weather, as the waves would not have enough energy for there to be any efficiency in converting it.”'s_duck

  13. rapscallion permalink
    January 3, 2017 1:56 pm

    I noticed that the article said that the “generator was fitted with a sonar radar to detect nearby wildlife”

    Which is rather curious really, as such a device does not exist. Radar is for surface and air use and uses super high radio waves, whereas sonar is sub-surface only and uses low to very low frequency sound waves.

    I though journalists were supposed to check these things out?

    • January 3, 2017 2:08 pm

      There may be a few diligent journos out there but they have been a rapidly reducing number for many years and would likely now qualify for the status of “endangered species”.

    • TinyCO2 permalink
      January 3, 2017 3:04 pm

      I don’t know how good sonar is at detecting dolphins and seals but from the text is seems to have been seeing ghost animals. I wonder how many times they turned the sensitivity down and sliced and diced creatures, then turned it up and it triggered all the time. it may be that the creatures were attracted to it to investigate. Which suggests that without a cage, they’re not a viable concept.

      • Athelstan permalink
        January 3, 2017 7:04 pm

        You can hear the squeaks as they go through into the mincer – then shout “Dolphins Ahoy!”

        “these eco-nutters the greens, they don’t like their wildlife, about as much as I lerve humanity….!

        shouted bbc Icon – david attenburke!

  14. Bloke down the pub permalink
    January 3, 2017 2:18 pm

    Meanwhile, on the BBC lunchtime news, Harrabin was pushing this project in India supposedly turning CO₂ emissions into baking powder.

    • Dung permalink
      January 3, 2017 3:05 pm

      The official policy of the UN (and therefore of UK civil servants) is that all the CO2 must be removed from the atmosphere. I guess they must have missed the issue of The Beano which explained that ALL life on Earth was Carbon based, shame really.

  15. January 3, 2017 2:37 pm

    Back in September the Welsh Government handed out another £4 million grant for a wave energy project here in Pembrokeshire.

    • tom0mason permalink
      January 3, 2017 8:15 pm

      Ah, that’s what they really meant by a tidal scheme — discard the idea of generating useful power and wait for the next tide of money to flood in.

  16. The Old Bloke permalink
    January 3, 2017 2:40 pm

    Since when did it become a “battle” with the climate, Roger?

  17. david permalink
    January 3, 2017 4:07 pm

    UAH December update is +0.24 C;
    which is 0.2 C down from November.

    Of course, still “the hottest year evahhhhh,” “anywhere in the Universe”,
    since the Big Bang.

  18. BLACK PEARL permalink
    January 3, 2017 4:23 pm

    Plenty comments of indignation here
    All I can add is FFS
    No money left to fund peoples state pensions (women’s in particular) and yet we watch this on going debacle of utter waste of our tax money, which is never readily reported by the main stream TV media.
    They call it the ‘Daily wail’ by the left, but its news non the less, which know one else wants to report, especially the ‘State broadcaster’

    Did I say FFS oh yes so I did

  19. BLACK PEARL permalink
    January 3, 2017 4:29 pm

    And it just gets worse

  20. treghotel permalink
    January 3, 2017 4:47 pm

    There is no such thing as “EU money” as it is UK taxpayer money recycled through the useless EU at great cost.Similar to the waste of this scheme.

    • Athelstan permalink
      January 4, 2017 4:35 am

      The beeb, scum party – nutters, remainiacs great song and dance about the Brexiteers battle bus and emblazoned with – using the £350 million/week to Brussels was basically a back of the fag packet calculation but nevertheless ±, it is about right.
      The sum is settled, the UK does send roughly £19 billion p/a to the federal insanity project what the real debate is all about, is, how much do we really receive back… – don’t laugh.

      It’s a fucking game, and always where the truth is left battered and beaten up on the sidelines, in my opinion, I am pretty sure that, even if we do receive rebates and Brussels investments – how can we be sure about the efficacy, actual numbers, even, or, believe it?

      Though true enough – not that ‘our’ government has any track record; “open the gates!” [Climate change Act anyone?]………….of doing the right thing and it all goes to the South East tunnel projects/HS2 EU transEUropean rail-netwerk…. anyway but – BUT……………….. leaving it to Brussels – the jury is out and will rule forever in Strasbourg’s/Luxembourg’s favour.

      Finally, the most annoying thing is, when the money is supposedly recycled back here, it is emblazoned with that accursed blue flag with the ring of stars on it, ie British taxpayers money but with the Imperial stamp of Brussels upon it, personally for me, that really is taking the piss.

  21. robinedwards36 permalink
    January 3, 2017 8:10 pm

    Harrabin simply needs to do a few lines of arithmetic (plus of course assembling the essential facts). CO2 emissions are counted in tonnes/megatonnes per annum even from smallish projects. Baking powder is used at a few tenths of a percent in cakes, so a few grams. You would need a mountain of cakes to absorb industrial scale baking powder on a continuing basis. What nonsense that guy puts out.

    • tom0mason permalink
      January 3, 2017 8:20 pm

      And add water, or cake ingredients and heat to the baking powder mixture to release, er…. the CO2.
      Umm, an expensive way to contain the CO2 for a very short period.

  22. BLACK PEARL permalink
    January 4, 2017 12:13 pm

    Pensions to be put back further due to lack of cash … ?
    Well this is where lump sums of it goes

  23. Chris Long permalink
    January 6, 2017 10:42 pm

    When you get to the point of developing sonars and sophisticated
    and expensive addon equipment that does not contribute to electrical
    generation, you are on the fiscal path to receivership…

    Note to engineers: Unintended consequences encountered during
    electricity production are always bad and very expensive.


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