Tidal turbine manufacturer Tocardo Tidal Turbines and manufacturing company Huisman have installed five tidal turbines in the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier to generate clean energy.
Tocardo Tidal Turbines designs and produces tidal and free-flow water turbines while Huisman is operating as a designer, builder and financial sponsor of the turbine’s suspension structure. The installation is the largest tidal energy project in the Netherlands as well as the world’s largest commercial tidal installation of five turbines in an array.
The plant has been engineered and developed in a record time of nine months. It consists of a structure 50 metres in length and 20 metres wide and was transported over water to its designated location on the island of Neeltje Jans. The Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier is the largest of the world-renowned Delta Works series of dams and storm surge barriers, designed to protect the Netherlands from flooding from the North Sea. The location will now be a combination of water defences and hydroelectric power.
“This project marks an important step in the development of tidal energy” said Tocardo CEO Hans van Breugel. “Tidal technology is innovative and could grow into a significant Dutch export product. The export expectation of tidal energy is more than 200 Gigawatts. With our turbines in the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier, we can now show the world what tidal energy is all about: providing a clean and reliable source of energy that could fulfil 10-20 percent of the world’s electricity needs.”
Huisman’s CTO Joop Roodenburg added that besides the plant being extremely predictable with regard to how much energy it will be able to generate, it will also have a low impact as the turbines will be in the water and out of sight. The next step in the near future is to upscale the installations, but this will require a large investment and a realistic rate for tidal energy before the country can build an important tidal energy export industry. The company has been willing to take this risk and support the project financially because of its belief in the future of tidal power and the potential export opportunities.
Other Dutch companies are also involved in the project. Strukton has been actively involved in the project planning and is fully responsible for project management during installation. Mammoet’s involvement in the project comprises the transportation and installation of the Tidal Power Plant at the Easter Scheldt storm surge barrier. The Zeeland companies Istimewa Elektrotechniek, Van der Straaten and Hillebrand also play an important role in terms of the electro-technical installation and steel structures. The project is also supported by the Netherlands’ Department of Waterways and Public Works Rijkswaterstaat while the province of Zeeland has provided a significant financial contribution.
“Zeeland is surrounded by water” said Zeeland’s provincial representative Ben de Reu. “We are the only province with land in the sea, which is why tidal energy is such a good match for us. Therefore tidal energy fits so well with our province. In recent years we have built up much expertise in this area. We are a pioneer and now we can show that the water is an important energy source for Zeeland. Tidal energy is the future, of that I am convinced!”
Additional funding has been received from the European Regional Development Fund, the Dutch government and the province of Zeeland as part of the Operational Programme for Zuid-Nederland (OP-Zuid).