Andrew Holt | The image database | Getty Images
The Port of London Authority has approved the testing of tidal energy technology on a section of the Thames, which could ultimately help decarbonise operations related to the river.
The berth for the experiments is on a part of the river between the Thamesmead and Woolwich areas in south-east London, which is passed by commercial cargo ships, cruise lines and recreational river users.
Against this background, the PLA wants to “promote the use of microgeneration”. The new website allows developers to conduct both scaled and full-scale experiments with their systems.
In a statement released Tuesday, Tanya Ferry, the organization’s environmental director, said research showed that the river “could provide power to operators and pier owners.”
Ferry went on to say that traditional tidal turbine technology is unlikely to be a viable option due to the lack of space, but the mooring lines would give developers the “opportunity to test other emerging technologies on the Thames.”
The PLA says it will use the information gathered from the trials to “inform” future investment decisions.
London isn’t the only big city trying to assess the feasibility of tidal power. In the United States, New York’s East River is home to Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project, which has been under development since 2002.
At the end of October 2020, the initiative took another step forward when a new tidal power plant consisting of three turbines was installed.
While interest in marine energy systems is growing, the current footprint of these technologies remains quite small.
Recent figures from Ocean Energy Europe show that only 260 kilowatts (kW) of tidal power capacity was added in Europe last year, while only 200 kW of wave power was installed.
According to the WindEurope industry association, 14.7 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy capacity were installed in Europe in 2020.