Siemens-backed SeaGen tidal system powers past 5GWh

Siemens’ SeaGen tidal-power turbine in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland has passed the milestone of generating 5GWh – enough to meet the annual electricity demand of 1,500 households.

The grid-connected 1.2MW system, a twin-rotored, horizontal-axis concept developed by UK company Marine Current Turbines (MCT), was first deployed at the site in 2008.

“SeaGen is a working demonstration of UK innovation, which we hope to export worldwide. As well as our demonstrable technical success in generating electricity at meaningful scale, the backing of Siemens has greatly facilitated our commercialisation plans,” says Andrew Tyler, chief executive of MCT.

The German industrial giant took a majority stake in MCT in February.

In Scotland MCT has a 99MW tidal farm on the drawing board for Brough Ness, off the southern tip of the Orkney Islands, and an 8MW array planned for Kyle Rhea, off the Isle of Skye, plus a 10MW development set in the Anglesey Skerries in Wales.

The latter two arrays are now in an “advanced stage of development”, while Brough Ness is expected to be built-out in three phases between 2017 and 2020.

A three-headed SeaGen S machine – which features a buoyant pontoon attached by a twin-bar lifting system and anchor-piled foundation to streamline tow-out and installation – is in line for testing in partnership with Minas Basin Pulp & Power at the Force Centre in Canada’s Bay of Fundy.