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Wed December 08 2021

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China moves forward with $40bn tidal power project

11 Jun 14 The large-scale generation of renewable energy from tides has moved closer with the commissioning of an economic study into the viability of building a dynamic tidal power (DTP) facility off the east coast of China.

Chinese National Energy Administration’s potential facility would involve the construction of a dam stretching 60-100 km perpendicular to the Chinese coast between Xiamen and Shantou, and in the entrance to the Bohai Sea. The dam would capture power from the tide through a network of 4,000 turbines that would generate up to 15 gigawatts of energy. This is the equivalent of six large coal or gas power stations and would provide energy for more than ten million homes.

A consortium of eight Dutch companies, including Arcadis and Strukton, is leading the development of the new, patented technology, working with the Chinese government. A series of feasibility projects over the past three years has demonstrated the proof of the principle and assessed potential locations. The che current economic assessment will look at the design and construction costs which are estimated to be in the region of US$40bn.

Rob Steijn, one of the inventors of the technology and director of the river, coast and sea department at Arcadis said: "We are thrilled about the fruitful co-operation with our Chinese partners. Of course it helps a lot that many tidal conditions along the Chinese coastline are very good for the concept of dynamic tidal power."

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In addition to China, a number of other coastal locations around the world have been identified as having potential for dynamic tidal power. These include the Korean Peninsula and in the North Sea off the coast of the UK and Northern Europe. The Chinese economic assessment is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. If successful, the next stage is the testing and final design with the project potentially being completed by 2020.

DTP is a potential new method of tidal power generation. It involves creating a large dam-like structure extending from the coast straight into the ocean, with a possible perpendicular barrier at the far end, forming a large 'T' shape. This dam would harness the tidal waves running along the coasts of continental shelves which contain powerful hydraulic energy.

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