World's Most Powerful Tidal Stream Turbine Passes Another Milestone

SeaGen, the world’s first and only commercial scale tidal stream energy turbine has passed another electricity generation milestone by delivering its two millionth unit of electricity into the UK electricity grid. The 1.2MW SeaGen, located in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, is now operating 24 hours, seven days a week.

It is well on course to be the first tidal system to meet the power generation criteria for the UK Government’s Marine Renewables Deployment Fund.

Developed by Bristol-based Marine Current Turbines, SeaGen is the only tidal energy system regularly generating power into the UK electricity grid and is the only tidal system to be accredited by OFGEM as a UK power station and also as a recipient of ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates). SeaGen is producing as much electricity as an average off-shore wind turbine of double the capacity and unlike wind power generation SeaGen’s output is wholly predictable.

“Passing the 2 million kWh mark represents considerable progress and underlines the significant potential that our technology and base-load tidal energy has to offer. We are delivering marine energy on a daily basis which shows that our SeaGen technology is leading the race to harness the power of the seas by a large margin,” says Peter Fraenkel, technical director of Marine Current Turbines.

It took SeaGen from July 2008 until March of this year to generate the first million units largely due to licence restictions placed on its operation. However since March the restrictions, to check that SeaGen’s operation did not have any adverse effect on marine life, have been significantly relaxed by the regulating authority and 24/7 operation has been allowed. So in just the five months since 24/7 operation started, SeaGen has delivered its second million.

Peter Fraenkel adds: “SeaGen, which produces 1.2MW for all current velocities higher than 2.4m/s, remains the world’s most powerful tidal turbine and after two years of development and successful operation is ready to be deployed on a commercial basis in other stretches of tidal water.”

MCT is currently working with RWE npower renewables to develop a 10MW tidal farm off Anglesey and with Minas Bay Pulp & Paper to deploy a single SeaGen system in Canada’s Bay of Fundy. In March 2010, MCT secured approval for a lease from The Crown Estate to deploy its SeaGen tidal current technology off Brough Ness, on the southern most tip of the Orkney Islands (South Ronaldsay) and north east of John O’Groats. The company plans to have its first phase of SeaGen tidal turbines deployed there during 2017 with the whole scheme operational by 2020.

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