Who is behind PTEC?
The company behind PTEC is Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre Ltd; a consortium which includes Perpetuus Energy Limited and the Isle of Wight Council.
Where will PTEC be?
Once operational, PTEC will consist of an offshore energy generation site and an onshore project substation/control room.
The offshore energy generation site will lie to the south of the South Wight Maritime Special Area of Conservation (SAC), covering an area of 5km² approximately 2.5km (1.3 nautical miles) south of St Catherine’s Point.
The export cable(s) bringing the electricity generated by PTEC to the Isle of Wight will run approximately 6km from the north easterly end of the offshore site, before running in an east north east direction to the landfall at Castle Cove. From there the export cable(s) will connect to a dedicated project substation/control room to be built near to Steephill Road.
What is different about PTEC compared to other tidal projects in the UK?
As a readymade, ‘live’ commercial platform run in partnership with the local council and various turbine manufacturers, PTEC will deliver a fully consented site for a range of different turbine technologies, to be deployed in large commercial arrays. By allowing multiple turbine technologies to use the same site and share the same consents and infrastructure, we can simultaneously bring down the cost of energy and accelerate the growth of the tidal industry.
PTEC is currently the largest tidal stream energy project in development in England and Wales.
Where will the electricity generated by PTEC go?
When fully operational, the project will produce up to 30MW, of clean, predictable, and carbon free energy, for export to the UK’s grid. The point of connection to the grid is at Wootton Common on the Isle of Wight. The export cables will make landfall near Ventnor.
Which turbine technologies will PTEC use to generate electricity? How many turbines will there be?
PTEC has announced major partnerships with global turbine manufacturers, Tocardo International BV and SCHOTTEL Hydro GmbH, which will unlock significant inward investment.
These tidal turbines will be installed in groups (“arrays”) and, currently, there could be between 20 and 25 separate platforms supporting the turbines.
There are several other turbine manufacturers that are keen to partner with PTEC.
What needs to be done before the project is constructed and when will this happen?
While the project was previously fully consented, the onshore consents have now lapsed – this will be the first task; to reconsent the onshore elements of the project.
There are then a number of commercial and technical elements to finalise, including grid connection detailed design, power purchase and supply agreements, as well as finalising construction funding.
What will the operational life of PTEC be and what is the economic life of the equipment within it?
The economic life of the PTEC infrastructure to be deployed at the site will be greater than 20 years. Individual components and structures may have a useful life after this time; this will be determined by inspection towards the end of the project life. Operations on site are scheduled to last for at least 15 years per tidal array, which does not include installation or decommissioning activities.
The opportunity to re-power the site will be investigated as the project approaches the decommissioning phase.
Will the tidal turbines being deployed at PTEC have been previously tested?
The turbines to be deployed will be at an advanced stage of technology readiness, having previously completed prototype testing at other tidal sites such as the European Marine Energy Centre.
How does PTEC compare to wave energy?
Tidal stream technology is more mature than wave and currently cheaper; it is also a lot more predictable. However, tidal streams of sufficient speed to generate electricity are generally confined to relatively small areas, giving less overall potential and flexibility across the country than wave energy.
How will the project construction be funded and what is the status?
Funding will be sought from a range of investors and is contingent on securing the necessary commercial agreements as part of the current phase.
What is the appetite for investment in renewables?
There is strong appetite and global investment in renewables currently exceeds $200 billion per year. The outlook to 2030 is generally positive for renewables and there is strong investor interest in utility scale projects like PTEC.
Will this project create any jobs?
Evidence from other, smaller tidal projects shows a development of PTEC’s size can create hundreds of jobs and significant investment in the economy through the supply chain, infrastructure support and development, accommodation and services, and operation and maintenance support.
Some examples include construction services, environmental works, engineering support, foundation installation, turbine installation, cable laying, operation and maintenance support, marine and port operations.
Is there likely to be an increase in traffic on local roads?
There will be no long-term increase in traffic on the local roads, other than to service and operate the substation/control room at Flowers Brook. There will be some additional traffic during the construction phase.
What will be visible?
Based on the current turbine manufacturer selection process, there is likely to be between 20 and 25 platforms with surface piercing elements installed at the development site, over 2.5km (1.3 nautical miles) offshore. It is anticipated that there will be six navigational markers on the perimeter of the site. There will also be buoys to mark the position of the turbines. The onshore project substation/control room at Flowers Brook will be a small building designed and sited sensitively to minimise visual impact.
All onshore and foreshore works will avoid the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Heritage Coast designations.
The potential for visual impacts has been assessed by independent landscape specialists. Part of the Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment is the production of photomontages showing what PTEC will look like from a number of viewpoints. The viewpoints were agreed with Natural England, Isle of Wight Council and the AONB partnership.
Could this damage the seabed or wildlife?
PTEC has modelled the effects the development might have on marine water, sediment movement, marine mammal and seabirds. We do not believe there will be any significant adverse impacts.
What will be the impact of PTEC on the Special Area of Conservation?
The project has been designed to minimise impact on the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) as well as other designated sites as much as possible. The tidal arrays will be located outside of the SAC. The export cables which bring the electricity from the tidal arrays to land will have to pass through the SAC. PTEC has and will continue to work closely with Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation regarding impacts at satisfactory levels and a detailed Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) has already been undertaken.
Have the impacts to the sailing and fishing community been assessed?
As part of the environmental impact assessment we considered all possible impacts of the project, both offshore and onshore, including sailing and fishing. We consulted with local interest groups and relevant stakeholders.
Our studies include surveys of shipping traffic and incorporate data from the Round the Island Race and other events. Our findings were published as part of our planning application and included measures required to minimise any limited impacts.
How will fishing vessels and other ships know where the project site and infrastructure is?
An assessment of Shipping and Navigation considerations was undertaken by specialist independent consultants, Anatec, during the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Details of all works will be released via Notices to Mariners and the project boundaries would be clearly demarcated on charts. During construction and operation, normal navigational codes of conduct would apply.