The Port of Dover – Tidal Energy Power Station Feasibility (UK)

Tidal Energy Power Station Feasibility (UK)

Project Overview

The Port of Dover within the Pro-tide project is investigating the feasibility of a tidal energy power station,
testing smaller scale devices in a commercial location.The feasibility will cover the economical,
environmental and practical aspects of a small scale array.The port is one of the world’s busiest international
ferry ports with a high number of vessel movements and vital navigational areas.Consequently the location
of any pilot device was restricted to certain areas which would not interfere with the Ports commercial operations.
A tidal investigation zone area of approximately 0.45 square kilometres (45 hectares) outside
the Southern Breakwater was identified.The depths are relatively shallow ranging from 12 meters
at the near shore to 17 meters at the seaward end at Chart Datum.The flow speed
is estimated to be between 2 to 2.5 meters per second.



The first phase of the project is an initial desktop feasibility exercise investigating the environmental conditions of the site, understanding the ecology, tidal flow and technological requirements. This information will help determine what types of devices will be suitable and what the requirements are regarding consents, licences and approvals.

With the support of Pro-Tide, the Port of Dover started scouting for locations with the most ideal tidal flow rate. The predictability of that flow rate is also important. By modelling the area, they were able to identify two tidal energy ‘sweet spots’. Now, a measuring device is lowered and left in the water for a full tidal cycle (one month) to check if the calculations of the modelling are correct.

Meanwhile, the Port of Dover is going through a long list of manufacturers to see which devices are most suitable for use in the harbour area. Important is that the manufacturers can not only deliver a usable device, but also deliver within the correct timeframe. This process is ongoing.

What happens next?

When three devices are selected, they will be tested. This will enable further assessment of the device/devices performance, environmental implications and compatibility to the site. The pilot study is expected to inform future maintenance requirements as well as an understanding of the applicability of port infrastructure to energy generation. These tests are scheduled for 2015.

The results of the pilot should answer three important questions:

  • Does the system generate power?
  • Which of the three systems performs best?
  • Are the devices cost effective?

An economic business case will be conducted, answering the last question.

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