World's First Commercial Tidal Current Power System
29 August 2007
Environmental Goods & Services (EGS) News
World's First Commercial Tidal Current Power System - 29 August 2007
Marine Current Turbines confirmed that installation of its SeaGen commercial tidal energy system will commence before the end of the year 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 SeaGen 1.2MW commercial demonstrator has been developed on the basis of results obtained from SeaFlow, the world's first full-size tidal turbine installed by Marine Current Turbines 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. Consent to install the SeaGen device in Strangford Lough was given by the Environment & Heritage Service (Northern Ireland) in December 2005. 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.For more information visit: www.seageneration.co.uk