November 24, 2008 The giant 1.2MW SeaGen tidal energy system is on track to begin full operation in January following the replacement of two rotor blades on the second of its two turbines. The second turbine is now running under "test mode" while the first has been generating power into the local grid, at varying levels up to its maximum of 600kW, since the summer.

The blade replacement operation also demonstrated the benefits of SeaGen's design which allows the rotors to be raised out of the water, meaning it can can be maintained a small service vessel.

"We are on track for SeaGen to generate at full power within the next 2-3 weeks and we should complete the commissioning phase in January," said Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines. "SeaGen will then be ready to generate power into the grid on a fully automated basis, typically 18 hours a day."

When fully operational the tidal system’s 16m (52.5ft) diameter, twin rotors will operate for up to 18-20 hours per day to produce enough clean electricity to power around 1000 homes.