UK-based marine energy specialist Atlantis Resources Corporation has this week announced plans for a wide-ranging feasibility study that could establish India as a world leader in tidal energy.
The company has signed a deal with Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat, which will see it conduct an economic and technical feasibility study for sites in the Gulfs of Kutch and Khambhat that are known to have large tidal ranges.
If the results of the study are promising, the company intends to move forward with the deployment of tidal energy devices capable of generating over 100MW - enough power for around 40,000 households.
The project is likely to require millions of dollars in capital investment, but Atlantis chief executive Timothy Cornelius said there was a strong environmental and economic case for rolling out the technology. "The Gulfs of Kutch and Khambhat are renowned for their extreme daily tidal exchanges," he said. "In harnessing this renewable energy quickly and sustainably, Gujarat can become a world-leader in tidal energy."
He added that the project would fit with the Indian government's wider plans to increase the country's renewable energy capacity, most recently through the launch of its new Solar Mission strategy.
"Chief Minister Modi has enabled the development of other renewable energies in the State, including plans for the world's largest solar park," he said. "I sincerely hope his commitment to the promotion of sustainable development and the adoption of renewable energy is a source of inspiration for other world leaders."
The announcement came as Atlantis - which has already successfully connected two of its tidal stream energy devices to the grid in Australia and is working on plans for a £400m project to build a tidal energy-powered data centre for Morgan Stanley in Scotland's Pentland Firth - revealed it is to deploy its largest device to date at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney next year.
Cornelius told Reuters that the company, which has secured financial backing from Norwegian energy giant Statkraft as well as Morgan Stanley, was investing around £15m in testing the giant AK-1000, 1MW-capacity underwater turbine.
"We took everything we had learned over the past 10 years...to create AK-1000, which we believe to be the best for the North Sea," he said. "This one is built for the harsh marine environment we will get as we go into the North Sea in Orkney. This is one of the harshest environments in the world."
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