25 September 2015, 10:05
Tocardo Tidal Turbines, designer and producer of tidal and free-flow water turbines and Huisman, designer, builder and financial sponsor of the turbine’s suspension structure have installed five tidal turbines in the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier (Oosterschelde barrier) to generate clean energy. This 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 Tidal Power Plant is engineered and produced in a record time of nine months. The 50 meter long and 20 meter wide structure was transported over water to the work island “Neeltje Jans”. Taking into account the water levels, the tides and the weather and using the slides of the storm surge barrier, the tidal power plant was placed on a floating pontoon combined with lifters and installed between the pillars under the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier. With an installation window of just two hours and with a highly precise operation, the tidal power plant is successfully installed.
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. 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 Tocardo CEO Hans van Breugel.
According to Huisman’s CTO Joop Roodenburg 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 they believe in the future of tidal energy and great Dutch export opportunities. A home market as the Eastern Scheldt project is essential in this matter.
Besides Tocardo and Huisman, many other Dutch companies are involved in this prestigious 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 Eastern 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.
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 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!"
This project has 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).