A world first for Northern Ireland [Adds Apparently that depends on the definition of ‘commercial scale’]. The SeaGen tidal energy converter is the world’s first commercial scale tidal turbine and it’s being installed in Strangford Lough. Tom Rafterty has more here, although it’s worth pointing out that Marine Current Turbines have a number of corporate shareholders and strategic partners – company background here. Channel 4 report here, UTV has some video reports, and the Guardian’s coverage is here. Additionally, as the SeaGen project website notes,
The environmental impact of SeaGen will be continuously monitored by independent science team throughout the licensed 5 year installation period. The project is being managed by Royal Haskoning with Queens University Belfast and the Sea Mammal Research Unit providing the science input.
According to the Irish Times breaking news report
The operation to fix the turbine on the seabed is expected to take up to two weeks. It was due to begin yesterday but had to be postponed due to poor weather.
Adds Wikipedia notes the fore-runners of this project.
Trials in the Strait of Messina, Italy, started in 2001 and Australian company Tidal Energy Pty Ltd undertook successful commercial trials of highly efficient shrouded turbines on the Gold Coast, Queensland in 2002. Tidal Energy Pty Ltd has commenced a rollout of shrouded turbines for remote communities in Canada, Vietnam and Torres Strait in Australia and following up with joint ventures in the EU.
During 2003 a 300 kW Periodflow marine current propeller type turbine was tested off the coast of Devon, England, and a 150 kW oscillating hydroplane device, the Stingray, was tested off the Scottish coast. Another British device, the Hydro Venturi, is to be tested in San Francisco Bay.
Although still a prototype, the world’s first grid-connected turbine, generating 300 kW, started generation on November 13, 2003, in the Kvalsund, south of Hammerfest, Norway, with plans to install a further 19 turbines.
SeaGen, a commercial prototype design will be installed by Marine Current Turbines Ltd in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland in March 2008. The turbine could generate up to 1.2 MW and will be connected to the grid.