Marine Current Turbines (MCT) has received £3.5m of funding to help deploy the first commercial tidal energy farm in UK waters.
The British tidal energy firm received the investment from a group led by Carbon Trust and including Bank Invest, EDF Energy and High Tide.
The group hopes part of the funding will support its deployment of SeaGen, the world’s first grid-connected tidal energy system, in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough.
The 1.2MW device has already been in operation at the site for more than six months. The power generated is being sold to ESB Independent Energy under a Power Purchase Agreement to provide businesses across Northern Ireland with renewable electricity.
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: ‘The UK is leading the way in marine energy and stands to reap the rewards through new jobs and revenue. Marine Current Turbines has developed one of the leading tidal energy devices and its proven technology is now ready to be deployed in a commercial-scale tidal farm that will be a UK first.
‘The current economic climate has created difficulties for companies such as MCT operating within a capital intensive sector. We’re delighted to be able to lead this important group of investors in providing funding to a key player in the UK’s growing marine energy sector.’
Martin Wright, managing director of MCT, added: ‘We have established clear water ahead of our rivals and we see this significant investment, allied by the government’s actions to encourage tidal and wave energy, giving the company a massive boost to realise the commercial opportunities that exist in the UK as well as overseas markets.’
The investment has been drawn from a new £18m fund from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which is aimed at supporting projects in the UK’s clean energy sector.