Marine Current Turbines kicks off first tidal array for Wales

SeaGen Artist's Impression

Marine Current Turbines Ltd (MCT), in partnership with RWE npower renewables, has today submitted a consent application to install a 10MW array of tidal stream turbines off the North West coast of Anglesey in 2015. The array, consisting of seven twin rotor turbines arranged across an area of 0.56km², will harness the power of the tidal waters, generating enough power for over 10,000 homes on the island. It will be the first tidal array to be deployed in Wales.

This tidal farm, using the fast moving and predictable flow of the tides, will use MCT’s proven and award-winning tidal energy technology (known as SeaGen and which works in principle like an underwater windmill) to generate enough power to supply electricity to up to 10,000 homes. The array will be situated between the Skerries islands and Carmel Head, about 1km off the Anglesey coast. SeaGen is a proven technology, the first 1.2MW unit having been successfully operated in Strangford Narrows, Northern Ireland since 2008, and it is officially accredited by OFGEM as the UK’s first and only tidal current power plant.

If the planning consent is granted to SeaGeneration Wales Ltd, the MCT / RWE npower renewables project company, it will be the first tidal array in Wales demonstrating the commercial viability of this technology. This project will help to demonstrate that the deployment of tidal generation can be recognised as a viable means of securing renewable generation, lower carbon emissions whilst simultaneously creating a new industry and many jobs.

The project will cost approximately £70 million to develop and, where possible, local businesses will be contracted for the assembly, installation, operation and maintenance of the tidal array. It will generate jobs that use skills ranging from advanced blacksmithing through to sophisticated control systems management. The project will also stimulate the supply chain to support the emerging marine renewable energy sector in the UK and Wales.Martin Wright, CEO and founder of MCT said: “Tidal power is a predictable and reliable source of renewable energy and our technology can play an important part in helping Wales realise its renewable energy targets as set out in the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) Energy Policy statement. It aims to capture 10% of the tidal stream and wave energy off the Welsh coast by 2025, making Wales a UK low carbon economic area for tidal energy. The proposed project would represent a significant step in meeting both of these targets and furthermore, will see the creation of many new green jobs.”

MCT has undertaken a series of environmental and technical studies and consulted a range of local residents as well as local and national organisations, including: RSBP, Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Sciences, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency in order to consider the impact of the project over its operational lifespan, about 25 years.Joseph Kidd, MCT’s Development Manager for the project, said: “Engagement with local interests is an important part of our work, particularly local marine recreation groups and so far the response to our plans has been generally positive. Our experience of working in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough has been hugely valuable in taking forward our plans for Anglesey.”

RWE Npower Renewables’ Project Manager, Paul Catterall said: “RWE npower renewables are delighted to have been involved in the development of this project, which exemplifies one of the most promising of the emerging renewable energy technologies. Tidal energy has the potential to play a significant role in our future renewables portfolio. SeaGen represents the end result of many years of hard work, perseverance and human ingenuity, and we are privileged to be working with MCT, global leaders in tidal generation.”

About Marine Current Turbines:1. Marine Current Turbines (www.marineturbines.com) is based in Bristol, England. The company was established in 2000 and its principal corporate shareholders include BankInvest, Carbon Trust Investments, EDF Energy, ESB International, Guernsey Electricity, High Tide and Siemens Energy. 2. In 2009, MCT was ranked the world’s top tidal energy company in The Guardian/Clean Tech Global 100 Survey and won Renewable Energy Developer of the Year in the UK Renewable Energy Association Annual Awards.3. MCT’s 1.2MW SeaGen was deployed in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough in April 2008; it has the capacity to generate power for the equivalent of about 1500 homes. It works in principle much like an “underwater windmill” with the rotors driven by the power of the tidal currents rather than the wind. The SeaGen turbine is subject to a rigorous monitoring programme imposed under its licensing conditions to ensure it does not threaten the marine life of Strangford Lough where it is located. Click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_0dJlw9AsI

4. SeaGen is accredited by OFGEM as a UK power station and so is a recipient of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

5. MCT is working with Minas Basin Pulp & Power to deploy a single SeaGen system in Canada’s Bay of Fundy. In September 2010, the company announced that it would partner ESB International in taking forward plans to develop a tidal energy farm of up to 100MW off the Antrim (Northern Ireland) coast. MCT is also planning to develop Scotland’s first tidal farm at Kyle Rhea in the Western Isles by 2013/14.6. 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.

For further information:

Marine Current Turbines (www.marineturbines.com)

Joseph Kidd Site Development Manager
Tel: 0117 979 1888
or
Paul Taylor (Taylor Keogh Communications)
Tel: 020 3170 8465 / 07966 782611 /paul@taylorkeogh.com

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