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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 06:49 GMT 07:49 UK
World tidal energy first for NI
Turbine will operate in Strangford Lough for up to five years
Turbine will operate in Strangford Lough for up to five years
The world's first turbine to create commercial amounts of electricity from tidal energy is to be installed in Northern Ireland.

Marine Current Turbines (MCT) said the installation of its SeaGen commercial energy system at the mouth of Strangford Lough would begin in August.

The lough has one of the fastest tidal flows in the world.

SeaGen will produce electricity for about 1,000 homes. It is the biggest turbine of its kind in the world.

It will have the capacity to produce 1.2MW of electricity - four times more than any other tidal turbine.

It will operate in Strangford Lough for up to five years and is expected to be the prototype for commercial applications of the technology.

MCT Managing Director Martin Wright said: "SeaGen's installation is a very significant milestone for both Marine Current Turbines and the emerging marine energy sector.

"We are confident that SeaGen will show that tidal energy can be truly competitive with other forms of power generation."

'Realistically achieve'

He said tidal power energy was sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

MCT has carried out an environmental monitoring programme on the location of the turbine in Strangford Lough, which is a protected marine area.

"We will build on the success of SeaGen to develop a commercial tidal farm, of up to 10MW in UK waters within the next three years," said Mr Wright.

"With the right funding and regulatory framework, we believe we can realistically achieve up to 500MW of tidal capacity by 2015 based on this new SeaGen technology."

The turbine is currently at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

It will later be taken to the lough by an offshore installation contractor which will drill a single pile into the seabed to anchor the turbine.

Where the turbine was made

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