Bristol tidal power company Marine Current Turbines (MCT) has unveiled plans to install the word’s first commercial scale tidal energy system in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough.
MCT aims to install its 1.2MW SeaGen tidal system, which could supply electricity for the equivalent of 1,000 homes, by the end of March 2008.
The process of deploying the SeaGen device in Strangford Lough has been adapted to use a crane barge rather than the usual process using a larger jack-up vessel. Installation will take up to 14 days and is scheduled to start on March 23.
The additional fabrication engineering work on SeaGen was carried out by Scottish firm Burntisland Fabrications and the final phase of the engineering assembly and mobilisation activity will be undertaken by Harland & Wolff in Belfast. During the 12 week commissioning phase, a team of environmental scientists from Royal Haskoning, Queen’s University Belfast and St Andrew’s Sea Mammal Research Unit will monitor SeaGen’s operation and its interaction with marine life.
MCT received grant assistance from the Department of Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) and a further £980,000 investment from the Technology Strategy Board to cover the additional installation costs and independent performance validation.