The world’s first commercial-scale tidal turbine, located in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough and developed by Bristol-based Marine Current Turbines, has delivered electricity onto the grid for the first time.

The world’s first commercial-scale tidal turbine, located in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough and developed by Bristol-based Marine Current Turbines (MCT), has delivered electricity onto the grid for the first time.

The SeaGen tidal-current turbine generated 150kW of power onto the grid as part of its commissioning work, ahead of it achieving full capacity.

MCT claims that it will generate 1.2MW of power once fully operational.

‘The marine environment poses a number of unique technical challenges, not least installing SeaGen in an extremely aggressive tide race, so we are delighted that MCT has delivered yet another world-first in this sector,’ said Martin Wright, managing director of MCT.

‘SeaGen is the world’s first commercial-scale tidal stream generating system by a large margin,’ added Wright. ‘It is more than four times as powerful as any other tidal current system, including our own 300kW SeaFlow, the world’s first offshore tidal device in 2003 installed off Lynmouth on the north Devon coast in 2003.’

SeaGen was installed in Strangford Lough in May 2008 and commissioning work has been taking place since then, including the grid connection undertaken in partnership with Northern Ireland Electricity.

MCT expects that the present testing and commissioning phase will be completed by the end of the summer.

Irish energy company ESB Independent Energy is purchasing the power generated by SeaGen for its customers in Northern Ireland and Eire.