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Clean Power seagen tidal power turbine

Published on December 18th, 2008 | by Timothy B. Hurst

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SeaGen Shatters Tidal Power Generation Record

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December 18th, 2008 by  

seagen tidal power turbineSince its inception, we have been keeping a close eye on Marine Current Turbine’s SeaGen project in the UK, the world’s first commercial scale tidal stream turbine. Well, today there is more big news to report from the strong tidal flows of Strangford Lough as SeaGen has generated at its maximum capacity of 1.2MW for the first time. Thus far, 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.

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“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,” said Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines (MCT). “It demonstrates, for the first time, the commercial potential of tidal energy as a viable alternative source of renewable energy.”

According to company officials, 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.

>>Watch an animation of SeaGen turbines in action

“Marine Current Turbines has pioneered the development of tidal current turbines. As the first mover in tidal stream turbine development, we have a significant technical lead over all rival tidal technologies that are under development,” rightfully boasted Wright. “There are no other tidal turbines of truly commercial scale; all the competitive systems so far tested at sea are quite small, most being less than 10% the rotor area of SeaGen.”

Drawing on 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 scheduled to come online in late 2011/early 2012.

The company is also investigating the potential for tidal energy schemes in other parts of the UK and Ireland, and in North America.

Image courtesy of Marine Current Turbines

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About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.



  • G2

    It is a tidal stream turbine, not a tidal barrage. This means that it does not hold back the water and so should have a far lower environmental impact than a barrage. At La Rance there have been ecological changes in the estuary. With tidal stream it is hoped – but not yet proven – that there will be no impact at all. Read the website for the project and you will find it is deliberately sited near very sensitive ecology such as a seal colony. Part of their tests is whether the seals are injured by the blades and whether there are the feared cavitation noises from the blades that affect dolphin sonar. They have undertaken to shut down if they are causing ecological damage. Wish there were more projects which took this responsible attitude.

  • G2

    It is a tidal stream turbine, not a tidal barrage. This means that it does not hold back the water and so should have a far lower environmental impact than a barrage. At La Rance there have been ecological changes in the estuary. With tidal stream it is hoped – but not yet proven – that there will be no impact at all. Read the website for the project and you will find it is deliberately sited near very sensitive ecology such as a seal colony. Part of their tests is whether the seals are injured by the blades and whether there are the feared cavitation noises from the blades that affect dolphin sonar. They have undertaken to shut down if they are causing ecological damage. Wish there were more projects which took this responsible attitude.

  • Aquarius

    In what way (aside from an obviously more modern technology) is this any different from the 240MW tidal power plant of the Rance river in France ?

  • Aquarius

    In what way (aside from an obviously more modern technology) is this any different from the 240MW tidal power plant of the Rance river in France ?

    • Renwooller

      it’s in the ocean, not in a river

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