UK company Marine Current Turbine, based in Bristol, has developed SeaGen and is installing the device in Strangford Lough, off the coast of Northern Ireland. The turbine harnesses power from the tidal stream. The underwater movement of the tidal flow turns the turbine like an underwater windmill, thus producing a clean and secure energy source which will provide enough electricity to power around 1000 homes.
It will take 14 days to install Seagen, followed by a 12 week period of commissioning, and the turbine is set to start generating power early this summer.
The UK boasts 50% of Europe’s tidal and 35% of its wave resources meaning marine renewables could potentially meet up to a fifth of the UK’s electricity needs.
Martin Wright, managing director of Marine Current Turbine said,
“We are very pleased that this installation is at last taking place and hope it will herald the commercial reality of marine renewable energy.”
The power produced by Seagen will be sold to ESB Independent Energy; one of the first utility companies in the world to provide tidal energy to its customers.