Belfast Telegraph

Strangford tidal power project takes top award

By Linda Stewart

The team behind the tidal turbine at the mouth of Strangford Lough has just won a major award for its groundbreaking work.

Marine Current Turbines was recognised for making the ‘Best Use of Renewable Energy Sources’ at the Sustainable Ireland Awards 2010 for its SeaGen tidal technology which has been operating in Strangford Lough since 2008.

The award, sponsored by NWP Recycling, was presented to MCT’s co-founder and technical director, Peter Fraenkel, at a ceremony at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast where the keynote speaker was the Northern Ireland Environment Minister, Edwin Poots.

The independent judging panel said it was impressed with MCT’s SeaGen project.

The scheme has scored a world first, using innovative technology to harness sufficient energy from the strong tides in Strangford Lough to power hundreds of homes all year round.

“To say that it has taken a lot of time and effort, not to mention inventiveness and ingenuity, would be an understatement, but the company clearly had an abundance of belief, know-how and drive to reach its goal,” the judges said.

The 1.2MW turbine has the capacity to generate power for the equivalent of about 1,500 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. In September 2009, MCT was ranked the world’s top tidal energy company in The Guardian/Clean Tech Global 100 Survey and in June 2009 won Renewable Energy Developer of the Year in the UK Renewable Energy Association Annual Awards.

MCT has just announced that it will partner ESB International in taking forward plans to develop a tidal energy farm of up to 100MW off the Antrim coast.

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