April 4, 2008 Bristol based renewable energy company Marine Current Turbines has completed the first installation phase of the 1.2MW SeaGen Tidal System at Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough - a site chosen for its combination of fast tidal current and ability to provide shelter from bad weather which may hinder the construction process. It is expected that the breakthrough power plant will be operational around mid-year with its massive 16m diameter twin rotors harnessing the tides to produce the equivalent amount of energy it takes to power 1000 homes. After its final assembly at the Harland & Wolff dockyard in Belfast, the crane barge “Rambiz” positioned the 1000 tonne structure onto the seabed 400m from the shoreline where it will be secured by four pins drilled to a depth of around nine meters.
SeaGen will enter commercial operation after a commissioning phase of around 12 weeks and supply electricity to the local grid.
“SeaGen is a hugely exciting project, as well as an historic achievement for both Marine Current Turbines and for renewables in the UK and Ireland," said Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines. "Tidal energy has the great advantage of being predictable and no other system can harness the power of the tidal currents in the way this one can. We take great pride and see enormous potential in the technology and hope it will eventually make a significant contribution to the future energy needs of the British Isles, Ireland and beyond.”
Further reading at the MCT site.