The Marine Current Turbine SeaGen project in the UK, is the world’s first commercial scale tidal stream turbine. Today it has been reported that the strong tidal flows of Strangford Lough have enabled the turbine to generate at their maximum capacity of 1.2MW for the first time. This is the highest power produced by a tidal stream system anywhere in the world and exceeds the previous highest output of 300kW produced in 2004 by the company’s earlier SeaFlow system, off the north Devon coast.
Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines (MCT) said “Generating at full power is an important milestone for the company, and in particular our in-house engineering team. We are very pleased with SeaGen’s performance during commissioning. It demonstrates, for the first time, the commercial potential of tidal energy as a viable alternative source of renewable energy.”
Now that SeaGen has reached full power it will move towards full-operating mode for periods of up to 22 hours a day, with regular inspections and performance testing undertaken as part of the project’s development program.
Using its experience at Strangford Lough, MCT’s next project is a joint initiative with nPower Renewables to build a 10.5MW project using seven SeaGen turbines off the coast of north Wales. That project is slated to be finished by early 2012.