Renewable energy enthusiasts across the world were recently focused on Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough, for the installation of the first ever commercial tidal turbine system. Pioneering developer Marine Current Turbines, are behind the SeaGen system, backed by investments from ethical specialists, Triodos Bank and its clean energy investment fund, Triodos Renewables.
The UK has a massive potential for marine energy, which could provide a fifth of the country’s electricity – the proportion nuclear currently provides. The idea of generating power from the sea is moving from the drawing boards and becoming a reality but it is not without its challenges.
Established in 2000, Marine Current Turbines are developing groundbreaking technology to exploit flowing water and tidal systems. On 2nd April 2008, the first phase of installing the 1.2 megawatt SeaGen system into Northern Ireland’s Strangford Narrows was completed. The system was assembled in Belfast dock, the very same place that the Titanic was built – but this is a good omen as SeaGen is designed to sink!
When fully operational later this year, its 16 meter diameter, twin rotors will operate for up to 18–20 hours each day to produce enough clean, green power for 1,000 homes – four times greater than any other tidal stream project so far. The system will be tested over the next few months and its impact on Strangford Lough’s marine life closely monitored. If all goes accordingly, Marine Current Turbines will then move on to the next development: a ‘tidal farm’ with seven SeaGen devices planned for installation off the coast of Anglesey.
A powerful community of over 3,000 shareholders own Triodos Renewables, a pioneering company investing directly in inspiring renewable energy projects such as this one. A share issue by Triodos Renewables aims to raise £8.5 million to support investment in even more clean energy projects.
To find out how your money can support the UK’s flourishing renewables industry Contact: Triodos Bank
Strangford Lough Turbines
Photo: © Triodos Bank
by Will Furguson, June 24, 2008