1.2 MW Tidal turbine to be installed off Northern Ireland

Starting August 20th, Marine Current Turbines will install the worlds largest tidal current turbine in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough. The 1.2MW turbine will be the first commercial scale underwater turbine powered by tidal currents. The system will generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.
The system will act as a prototype for even larger installations in the future. Based on the experience with this system, the company plans to scale up the technology to build a 10MW tidal power farm within the next three years and wants to have 500MW of tidal capacity by 2015. The company received a £4.27m grant to cover half the cost of the installation.

The turbine blades spin about 10 to 20 revolutions per minute which should be slow enough to prevent problems with nearby marine life.

[Source: Marine Current Turbines via TreeHugger]

Wednesday, June 6th 2007

Marine Current Turbines Ltd has today (June 6th 2007) confirmed that installation of its SeaGen commercial tidal energy system will commence during the week of August 20th in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough. At 1.2MW capacity, SeaGen will be the world's largest ever tidal current device by a significant margin, and will generate clean and sustainable electricity for approximately 1000 homes. It is also a world first in being a prototype for commercial technology to be replicated on a large scale over the next few years.

The installation of SeaGen in Strangford Lough will be carried out by A2SEA A/S of Denmark, one of Europe's leading offshore installation contractors. The SeaGen 1.2MW commercial demonstrator has been developed on the basis of turbine installed by Marine Current Turbines Ltd off Lynmouth Devon in 2003. It has taken the subsequent four years for Marine Current Turbines to design and build SeaGen and secure the necessary environmental and planning consents.

SeaGen is a commercial demonstration project with permission to operate in Strangford Lough for a period of up to 5 years. It is intended as the prototype for commercial applications of the technology that will follow.

Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines said: "SeaGen's installation is a very significant milestone for both Marine Current Turbines and the emerging marine energy sector. Following from our previous experience with SeaFlow, our 300kW experimental test system installed in 2003 off the north Devon coast, we are confident that SeaGen will show that tidal energy can be truly competitive with other forms of power generation. Decentralised tidal current energy is fundamentally predictable and sustainable. It is also environmentally benign."

Commenting on the future prospects for tidal current energy, Martin Wright added: "We will build on the success of SeaGen to develop a commercial tidal farm, of up to 10MW in UK waters, within the next three years. With the right funding and regulatory framework, we believe we can realistically achieve up to 500MW of tidal capacity by 2015 based on this new SeaGen technology."

Recognising the special marine environment of Strangford Lough, MCT has undertaken a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme. This programme is already active and is managed by Royal Haskoning, a leading environmental consultancy, working in partnership with Queen's University Belfast and the St Andrews University Sea Mammals Research Unit. The programme is overseen by an independent body, chaired by David Erwin, a former Chief Executive of the Ulster Wildlife Trust.

The A2SEA jack-up barge, "JUMPING JACK", is planning to mobilise from Belfast's Harland & Wolf shipyard, where SeaGen is already complete and waiting, to Strangford Lough on August 20th. It is expected that the drilling of a single pile into the seabed and the installation of the twin-turbine device will take 14 days, with commissioning and power generation to the local grid shortly afterwards.

Martin Huss, Sales & Marketing Director of A2SEA said: "We are delighted to be working with MCT on this important and challenging project and hope it is the start of a long and rewarding relationship as tidal technology enters the market place in the UK."

Notes to Editors:

1. Consent to install the SeaGen device in Strangford Lough was given by the Environment & Heritage Service (Northern Ireland) in December 2005.
2. Marine Current Turbines has received a £4.27m grant from the DTI's Technology Programme for SeaGen, being approximately 50% of the total cost of this important pioneering renewable energy project.
3. Marine Current Turbines Ltd is based in Stoke Gifford, Bristol and employs 15 people. The company was established in 2000 and its principal corporate shareholders include BankInvest, EDF Energy, Fugro Seacore, Guernsey Electricity and Olympic Consultants. For further information, please visit www.marineturbines.com

4. A2SEA (www.a2sea.com) was established in 2000. It is the world's leading supplier of construction services for the offshore wind farm market. Capabilities include foundation and turbine transport and installation services using either its unique leg suspended crane vessels or full jack up rigs with heavy lift capability. A2SEA has a market leading position in providing turbine repair and maintenance services, and can also perform met mast installation and assist with geotechnical survey work.

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