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Ex-Balfour Beatty man to lead renewables group

Former Balfour Beatty managing director and VT Group chief executive Paul Lester has been appointed chairman of renewable tidal energy company Marine Current Turbines (MCT).

MCT designed and deployed the SeaGen tidal energy system, the largest grid-connected marine renewable energy system in the world and the only tidal current energy system that is in commercial operation. 

The 1.2MW tidal current turbine, which was deployed in April 2008, is located in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough.

Paul Lester arrives from VT Group, which was bought by Babcock this month, and succeeds Tony Davies who has been non-executive chairman of Marine Current Turbines for the past two years. 

Lester is joins MCT following the investment from Siemens and the Carbon Trust as the company deploys projects in UK and Canadian waters. A 99MW development site has been secured off Orkney as part of The Crown Estate Pentland Firth process, is working with RWE npower renewables on a tidal farm off Anglesey and working with a Canadian partner to deploy its SeaGen technology in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy.

Lester said MCT was: “One of the leaders in marine energy and has a pipeline of projects for its SeaGen technology to be deployed.  I will be focusing my energies to ensure that MCT achieves its exciting growth.”

“The value of the company rests with its award-winning and patented SeaGen technology but also the company’s expertise in identifying and bringing forward tidal sites for development.  The company however recognizes that multi-million capital investment, from an international utility or energy engineering firm, is necessary if these large-scale tidal energy projects are to be delivered over the next decade.”

Managing director of MCT, Martin Wright, said: “Paul Lester’s business and engineering experience in the UK and overseas is a fantastic asset for our company to draw upon. With Paul as our new Chairman and with the support of Siemens, Carbon Trust Investments and our other shareholders, MCT is in an enviable position to capitalize on the significant opportunities that exist in tidal energy, at home and abroad.”

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