30 November 2015, 08:05
On Wednesday 25 November, the tidal power plant in the Dutch Eastern Scheldt surge barrier has been put into service. The festive commissioning, where the largest tidal energy project in the Netherlands as well as the world’s largest commercial tidal installation of five turbines in an array, was performed by Diederik Samson, Group Chairman of the Dutch Labour Party.
“This project marks an important step in the development of tidal energy. Tidal technology is innovative and could grow into a significant Dutch export product. The export expectation of tidal energy is more than 200 Gigawatt. 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% of the world’s electricity needs,” says Hans van Breugel, CEO of Tocardo, producer of the tidal power plant.
According to Joop Roodenburg, Chairman of Huisman’s Board of Directors, the advantages of tidal energy are evident. “Besides the fact that it is extremely predictable how much energy is generated – the tide is there every day – the turbines are installed in the water and will not be in sight such as wind turbines. For the future we focus on upscaling the installations. However, this requires a large investment, a realistic rate for tidal energy and a touch of idealism. Only then we can build an important export industry. Huisman has been willing to take this risk and supports the project financially, because we believe in the future of tidal energy and great Dutch export opportunities”. In addition to the financial sponsoring of the project, Huisman was responsible for the design and the construction of the turbine’s suspension structure.
Besides Tocardo and Huisman, many other Dutch companies were involved in this prestigious project. Strukton has been actively involved in the project planning and was 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 Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier. The local companies Istimewa Elektrotechniek, Van der Straaten and Hillebrand also play an important role in terms of the electro-technical installation and steel structures.
As manager of the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier, the Netherlands’ Department of Waterways and Public Works “Rijkswaterstaat” supports this innovative initiative to generate energy. Together with contractors, engineering firms and knowledge institutes, Rijkswaterstaat develops innovative solutions and whenever possible facilitates initiatives to test or build renewable energy installations.
The province of Zeeland has provided a significant financial contribution to the project. Provincial representative Ben de Reu explains why: “Zeeland is surrounded by water. We are the only province in the Netherlands with land in the sea, which is why tidal energy is such a good match for us. 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! "
This project also received funding 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).