|Tidal Turbine Plugs In|
July 18, 2008
World's largest tidal turbine feeds into the national grid for the first time
The UK's first commercial-scale tidal turbine successfully fed power into the
National Grid for the first time yesterday in a move heralded as a major
breakthrough for the country's embryonic marine energy sector.
The SeaGen tidal turbine, which was installed in Northern Ireland's Strangford
Lough, briefly fed 150Kw of power into the grid.
Marine Current Turbines, the company behind the underwater turbine, said that
following the successful test the project was on track to become fully
operational by the end of the summer, at which point it will deliver 1.2Mw of
power to the grid, equivalent to that used by 1,000 homes.
Martin Wright, managing director of Marine Current Turbines, said that the move
marked "an important milestone" for both the company and the marine renewables
sector as a whole.
"SeaGen, Marine Current Turbines, tidal power and the UK government's push for
marine renewables all now have real momentum," he said, adding that connecting a
turbine operating in an "extremely aggressive tide race" represented a "major
The news was welcomed by business secretary John Hutton who insisted that the
government remained fully committed to expanding the UK's marine energy
capacity. "My department has supported SeaGen from the start, granting £5.2
million in funds to take it from the drawing board and into the waters of
Strangford Lough," he said. "This, and our plans to double the financial support
for marine technologies, is further evidence of our commitment to making the UK
one of the most attractive places to invest in green energy."
Marine Current Turbines said that it was now investigating the potential for
further tidal energy farms in other parts of the UK and North America. Earlier
this year, it announced that it was partnering with energy giant NPower's
renewables arm to develop a 10.5Mw project off the coast of Anglesey that is
expected to come online by 2012.