Sian Crampsie

Marine energy company Minesto has secured €13 million of EU funds to support the commercial roll-out of its tidal kite technology.

The investment comes via the Welsh government from the European Regional Development Fund and will help Minesto establish UK headquarters in north Wales and commission the first commercial "Deep Green" power plant.

Minesto’s Deep Green technology consists of an underwater kite carrying a turbine-generator and tethered to the seabed. The structure harnesses the energy of ocean currents to generate electricity.

The first Deep Green power plant will be a 0.5 MW-scale prototype deployed off the Welsh coast at Holyhead. The company plans to eventually deploy 10 MW at the site.

"Today’s announcement represents an important step into the full commercialisation of marine energy in Wales," said Anders Jansson, CEO of Minesto, on 20 May, 2015.

The Welsh government has been working with Minesto over a number of years on feasibility studies to help bring this investment to North Wales. First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said: "I am delighted that this EU funds investment has helped pave the way for Minesto to set up its UK headquarters in North Wales which will create high quality jobs in what is a rapidly expanding and important sector for Wales."

"We have extensive raw wave and tidal energy resources along our shorelines, and this is an excellent example of commercial solutions being developed in Wales to help drive our potential to be a world-leader in the marine energy market," added Jones. "This investment will not only help create greener and more efficient sources of energy, but will also create jobs and vital opportunities for growth in North Wales."

Wales has 1200 km of coastline with low velocity tidal currents, with the potential to supply more than five per cent of the UK’s total electricity demand. Wales also has strategically located deep-sea ports and access to the UK national grid, factors that could help it to become a world leader in marine energy.