China looks to international consortium to build $40bn tidal project

The large scale generation of tidal power in China is one step closer now that the Chinese National Energy Administration has commissioned an economic assessment into the viability of building a Dynamic Tidal Power (DTP) facility off the east coast of China.

By K.Steiner-Dicks on Jul 22, 2014

The 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, according to marine engineering company Arcadis.

A consortium of eight Dutch companies, including Arcadis, is leading the development of this new, patented technology with the Chinese Government, known as the POWER Programme. Following a series of feasibility projects over the past three years which have demonstrated the proof of the principle and assessed potential locations, the 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."

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.