A pioneering gravity base structure that will play a vital role in the trial of a ground-breaking underwater renewable energy project is 50 per cent complete.
The concrete base, part of the €30m (£25m) underwater kite project off Anglesey, is being constructed by Ruthin-based Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK.
The trial will see one 0.5MW generator installed and operated in 2018 to demonstrate the technology. Minesto, which developed the underwater kite technology Deep Green, is seeking to in the long term generate 80MW at the site, enough to power 70,000 homes.
Deep Green generates electricity by harnessing underwater currents in kites tethered to the sea floor. The kites will be installed in Holyhead Deep, 6.5km off the coast of Anglesey.
The concrete base, which is being constructed at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead Docks, will be hollow on the inside to allow it to be floated up the River Mersey and across the North Wales coast. Its cells will then be filled with water to lower it to the bottom of the sea. Once the structure is at the bottom of the sea a Minesto device will be secured to a mooring structure on the foundation.
The concrete gravity base will be 21.5 metres x 12.75 metres x 4.7 metres.
Jones Bros project manager Eryl Evans said: “This is a complex structure that is progressing well and on schedule.
“To add to the challenges, we’re building this foundation 12 metres deep in a dock. This has meant all materials and machines including plant have been lifted in by a crane.
“We’re using approximately 465m3 of concrete and the final structure will weigh close to 1,300 tonnes.
“We’re excited to be a part of what will be a significant maritime renewable energy project in North Wales.”
Minesto secured a €13m investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh European Funding Office in May 2015, for the commercial rollout of its Deep Green technology.
It is Minesto’s first commercial-scale tidal energy power plant. Its award-winning technology is the only verified marine power plant that operates cost efficiently in areas with low-velocity currents.
Martin Edlund, CEO of Minesto, said: “We are well positioned to meet time frames and deliverables towards our public funding partners, to demonstrate the unique advantages of the Deep Green technology, and to develop this required source of renewable energy.”
Founded in the 1950s and employing almost 350 people, Jones Bros has grown rapidly in the last decade. It is currently working on contracts in various sectors including the construction of waste management facilities, highways, flood and marine defence and renewable energy projects around the UK.
Read more about Minesto at www.minesto.com