A tidal stream turbine in Strangford Lough has produced enough energy to meet the annual power consumption of 1,500 British households.
SeaGen, owned by Siemens, was first lowered into the water in 2008 as the world’s first commercial-scale, grid-connected tidal stream turbine and has now become the first such device to generate so much electricity — in technical terms, 5 gigawatt-hours (GWh) since January this year.
Now other models of the turbine, which works like an “underwater windmill,” are expected to be deployed more widely in the next five to 10 years in coastal regions with strong tidal currents.
Two more tidal projects, in Scotland and Wales, are now in an advanced stage of development.
Dr Andrew Tyler, chief executive officer of Siemens-owned Marine Current Turbines, which developed the SeaGen system said that the achievement marks a very exciting time for tidal energy.
“SeaGen is a working demonstration of UK innovation, which we hope to export worldwide. As well as our demonstrable technical success in generating electricity at meaningful scale, the backing of Siemens has greatly facilitated our commercialisation plans.”
“The fact that we have increased our generation by another two GWh in just over half a year is a clear indication that SeaGen has completed the demonstration phase and is now ready for commercialisation. While we continue to learn lessons from the installation in Strangford, we are highly confident in our ability to deliver a reliable and maintainable system for commercial use.”
Revenue from Siemens’ environmental portfolio last year totalled about €30bn (£24bn), making Siemens one of the world’s largest suppliers of eco-friendly technologies.
The turbine in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough has been given an environmental all-clear by scientists.
Tidal power is cited as an alternative to wind and solar power because, despite the weather which may hamper other renewable energy generation, tides remain relatively constant.