Power from the narrows

Marine Current Turbines has completed the first installation phase of the 1.2MW SeaGen Tidal System into the waters of Strangford Narrows in Northern Ireland.

Bristol-based Marine Current Turbines, has successfully completed the first installation phase of the 1.2MW SeaGen Tidal System into the fast-flowing waters of Strangford Narrows in Northern Ireland.

The crane barge, “Rambiz”, is set to sail for Belgium after safely positioning the 1000 tonne structure onto the seabed in the early hours of Wednesday morning and releasing its four moorings today.

SeaGen’s location is roughly 1km south of the ferry route between Strangford and Portaferry, approximately 400m from the shoreline. 

When fully operational later in the summer, its 16m diameter, twin rotors will operate for up to 18-20 hours per day to produce enough electricity to power 1000 homes – four times greater than any other tidal stream project so far built.

The deployment by the Rambiz and the subsequent installation work is being overseen by MCT’s in-house engineering team and managed by marine engineering specialists SeaRoc.

The quadropod section that sits on the seabed will now be pin piled. Each of the four pins that secure SeaGen will be drilled to a depth of around nine metres. This work, carried out by Fugro Seacore, is scheduled to take up to 14 days.

SeaGen will enter commercial operation after a commissioning phase of around 12 weeks and supply electricity to the local grid.  ESB Independent Energy, the retail subsidiary of ESB, Ireland’s national electricity company, has signed a Power Purchase Agreement with MCT to supply to its customers in the island of Ireland with the power produced by SeaGen.

In February,  MCT announced a joint initiative with npower renewables to take forward a 10.5MW project using several SeaGen devices off the coast of Anglesey, north Wales. It is hoped the tidal farm will be commissioned around 2011/2012.