June 4, 2008 Construction of Marine Current Turbines' 1.2MW SeaGen tidal systemhas now been completed. The world’s first megawatt scale tidal turbine will now enter a 12-week period of commissioning and testing before it starts regularly feeding power into the Northern Ireland grid.
After announcing plans to build the SeaGen system in in mid-2007, the first phase of installation was completed in April this year. The final phase of installation included a six week operation to secure the 1000 ton structure to the seabed and link up SeaGen’s grid connection to the electricity substation on the southern shore of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. The completion of the installation was achieved by placing the superstructure on top of SeaGen last week and the departure of the Missing Link support vessel which has now headed back out to the Irish Sea.
When fully operational the tidal system’s 16m (52.5ft) diameter, twin rotors will operate for up to 18-20 hours per day to produce enough clean electricity to power around 1000 homes. The power energy output is four times greater than any other tidal stream project so far completed, including Marine Current Turbines earlier 300kW SeaFlow system installed off Lynmouth in Devon in 2003.
An official ‘switch-on’ ceremony for SeaGen is scheduled for late summer.