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Neptune Renewable Energy gets green light for autumn deployment of advanced tidal stream device

Neptune tugged Neptune Renewable Energy Ltd has been given parliamentary approval for the deployment of its world-leading tidal stream power device. It has been issued with a Transport and Works Act Order following a decision by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to allow deployment of the Neptune Proteus NP1000 demonstrator and the installation of a shore bridge in the Humber.

The device, which is on course to be deployed during the autumn, is to provide power for The Deep submarium, Hull's successful millennium visitor attraction.

Neptune Renewable Energy has also now awarded contracts to two Humber-based firms to carry out the final preparatory work.

Point Engineering Ltd of east Hull is building the 59-metre steel shore bridge that will allow maintenance access and carry the power cables that connect the Neptune Proteus to The Deep.

The shore bridge will be installed by Humber Work Boats Ltd of North Killingholme, which is also carrying out the piling work and will be responsible for positioning and securing the device. The four piles measure one metre in diameter and 28 metres in length and will be driven into the estuary bed approximately 65 metres from the seawall.

The 150-tonne Neptune Proteus was towed along Hull's William Wright Dock in July 2010 and generated levels of electrical power output beyond the minimum commercial requirement. It has since undergone final fitting out and electrical installation.

Glenn Aitken, finance director of Neptune Renewable Energy, said that the company was pleased that all the vital elements were now in place and that they were able to use the specialist skills of Humber-based companies to complete the final part of the process.

'Gaining the Transport and Works Act Order was a complex procedure in which Neptune Renewable Energy had to demonstrate its technology met the exacting standards required by the DECC and it is excellent news that this has now been issued.

'We are also very happy to be partnering with Point Engineering and Humber Work Boats as it provides a benefit to the local economy and also helps builds local knowledge around the Neptune Proteus which has been developed utilising the ideal conditions for tidal power provided by the Humber estuary.

'As the region develops into a leading UK centre for renewable energy, we need to raise awareness of the potential for tidal power business as a significant contributor. It has some clear advantages over wind power including being a totally predictable and continuous source of clean energy as well as being visually unobtrusive.'

Jonathan Rollison, sales and finance director at Point Engineering, said: 'Our team at Point is really excited about winning this contract. To see the generator moored up in the river producing power for The Deep will be a great thrill for Neptune and all those involved in this innovative and ground-breaking project.'

Last weekend (August 6 and 7) also saw the installation of the electrical equipment at the control room for the Neptune Proteus located at The Deep. Further work on this will be carried out over the following month.

Colin Brown, chief executive of The Deep, added: "The prospect of being able to use energy harnessed from the Humber takes us to a whole new level and is entirely fitting for us as an ocean-themed visitor attraction.'

Neptune Renewable Energy is presently developing its first commercial array of five advanced Neptune Proteus NP1500s which are also planned for deployment in the Humber and will provide energy for 5,000 homes.

The company is a member of the industry group Team Humber Marine Alliance, along with Point Engineering Ltd and Humber Work Boats Ltd.

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