Since the first commercial generation of electricity in the late 19th century, scientists and engineers have responded to the need to consume ‘non-renewable’ energy sources in order to generate electricity. However, non-renewable energy sources (e.g., fossil fuels) are finite and produce CO2, SO2, and other pollutants into the Earth’s atmosphere, e.g. further oxidation of SO2, usually in the presence of a catalyst such as NO2, forms H2SO4, and thus acid rain. In its simplest form, the generation of electricity could be described as the conversion of energy from one form to another through a combination of chemical and/or mechanical means. In the case of water-powered generators, the process involves the conversion of hydrostatic energy to kinetic energy and then to electrical energy.

Of course the hydro-electric concept is by no means new and many successful projects have been completed over the last 100-years to successfully harness the energy from rivers and oceans, capturing and converting this natural resource into electrical energy. The technology and pilot testing used to capture the ocean’s tidal-flow energy was studied for more than 25 years in the UK which started its first commercial-scale tidal-stream project in 2008. Since that time, the tidal industry has continued to grow and in 2014, MeyGen announced the commencement of the world’s largest tidal-stream array in the UK at 398MW, which began installing 1.5MW is scheduled for completion in 2019.

The UK currently leads the world in ocean energy power generation and UK utility companies are progressing the development of additional offshore sites around the British Isles (projects presently under development) that will deliver >500MW (Mega Watts) installed capacity. Major utility companies such as Scottish Power and RWE have interests in a number of projects. Not wanting to be left behind, major turbine/generator and cable equipment manufacturers are investing in developing the technology further. The presence of and recent additional commitments from the major utility companies and equipment manufacturers in this sector indicate that their economic researchers have identified ocean-energy power generation as a growth sector within the renewables industry and a valuable market to be involved with.

The following tidal and wave activity graph show how advanced the UK has developed compared to other countries:

Our UK-based engineering study and design specialists and partners have worked on more than half of the UK tidal energy projects to date and international clients for renewable energy projects reach as far as Japan. Our study experience includes conceptual and front end engineering design, detail design, project management, consenting and development, procurement management, through to offshore installation. We have extensive experience managing major offshore installation projects in SEAsia and globally with an in-depth understanding of the challenges that face our Clients, ranging from technical issues through to and including the assessment and commercial feasibility of projects.

Like other significant low-carbon energy development projects, the definition and construction of an ocean energy power-generation project requires proper prior planning with full concept definition and integration of the different elements of technical expertise with professional project management, backed-up by funding and robust government policy support throughout the development phases.

Typical study methodology to determine Concept Definition

This approach leads to a clear understanding of the most appropriate type of tidal-stream turbines required for the available metocean resources and from which the scope of work for FEED is determined. We provide a robust, world-class project management service for renewable energy projects, fully supported by experienced and professional renewable industry project engineers.
We deal with the definition and selection of suitable sites, power-generation equipment, tendering, procurement management and factory acceptance testing, through to the offshore installation and commissioning phases through management of the operations and maintenance phase for life-of-asset assurance on behalf of utility companies, or as an Independent Power Producer.


When you entrust your renewable energy project to SBS, you can rest assured that we take the ‘duty of responsibility’ seriously, pragmatically and enthusiastically. You will have our undivided attention at all times throughout the development phases and beyond, as well as access to over 600 highly qualified and experienced specialist engineers, safety professionals and scientists...

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