Groundbreaking tidal technology developed by a North East firm has received Royal approval. The Queen has officially opened the multi-million pound Tees International White Water Course at Stockton which includes world leading hydro-electric power technology designed by Patrick Parsons that allows the course to generate electricity for the National Grid.
Patrick Parsons’ MD Peter Stienlet, a member of the region’s Energy and Environmental Industries Forum, talks about the opening, the technology and environmental benefits and how the Tees Barrage is now a trend setter for future hydro-electric schemes.
“A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to give a presentation at the official launch of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Whitewater Course in Stockton-on-Tees. Patrick Parsons had provided full civil and structural design services - in a £4.6 million pound upgrade to the existing course - making it an Olympic-class facility. It was a pivotal moment for us to see the course officially opened, and I was delighted to be asked to talk briefly about the project at this launch event.
“A major innovation of the design for this project was our incorporation of Archimedes screws into the white water course to ensure full functionality no matter what the tidal conditions. At low tide the screws generate electricity for the national grid, making the course a net exporter of power – a world first.
“Presenting can induce nerves in the best of people, but imagine being told that the guests of honour were to be none other than the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh! However, the day – and fortunately my presentation - went without a hitch.
“In a dramatic opening ceremony, HRH switched on the rapids and was entertained by a display of canoeists carrying flares making their way down the new Long and Short courses.
“It was a huge honour to be introduced to the Queen, and a greater honour still that she asked me questions about the Archimedes screws and commended Patrick Parsons on the project. She was very well-informed.
“This represents the perfect culmination to what has been a landmark project for Patrick Parsons, leading to whitewater contracts all over the world. We are in the final stages of delivering a whitewater course to be installed in Moscow and have just been awarded a prestigious Olympic Legacy contract in the Lee Valley.
“We are extremely proud to have played a part in this project and hope to work on many more courses in the future. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Whitewater Course is excellent for the region, highlighting the north east as a destination for sporting excellence as well as showcasing the calibre of engineering work in the area.
“At Patrick Parsons we are always looking to mould our expertise by extending our services into new fields. There is huge potential to continue rolling out our engineering expertise on white water courses on a global scale and we’re excited about where future contracts may take us.”
The Energy and Environmental Industries Forum is the voice for the North East’s low carbon environmental goods and services industries. Its members include many of the region’s leading energy and environmental related companies. For more information visit www.eeif.co.uk