Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jun 06

Seagen Tidal Power Installation

Posted in Energy Industry | Tidal Power

Seagen Paul Taylor: Installation Of The World’s First Commercial Tidal Current Power System Confirmed. Marine Current Turbines has today (June 6th 2007) confirmed that installation of its SeaGen commercial tidal energy system will commence during the week of August 20th in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. At 1.2MW capacity, SeaGen will be the world’s largest ever tidal current device by a significant margin, and will generate clean and sustainable electricity for approximately 1000 homes. It is also a world first in being a prototype for commercial technology to be replicated on a large scale over the next few years.

The installation of SeaGen in Strangford Lough will be carried out by A2SEA A/S of Denmark, one of Europe’s leading offshore installation contractors. The SeaGen 1.2MW commercial demonstrator has been developed on the basis of results obtained from SeaFlow, the world’s first full-size tidal turbine installed by Marine Current Turbines off Lynmouth Devon in 2003. It has taken the subsequent four years for Marine Current Turbines to design and build SeaGen and secure the necessary environmental and planning consents.

Seagen Ocean Generator SeaGen is a commercial demonstration project with permission to operate in Strangford Lough for a period of up to 5 years. It is intended as the prototype for commercial applications of the technology that will follow.

Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines said: “SeaGen’s installation is a very significant milestone for both Marine Current Turbines and the emerging marine energy sector. Following from our previous experience with SeaFlow, our 300kW experimental test system installed in 2003 off the north Devon coast we are confident that SeaGen will show that tidal energy can be truly competitive with other forms of power generation. Decentralized tidal current energy is fundamentally predictable and sustainable. It is also environmentally benign.”

Seagen Jumping Jack Commenting on the future prospects for tidal current energy, Martin Wright added: “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. 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.”

Recognizing the special marine environment of Strangford Lough, MCT has undertaken a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme. This program is already active and is managed by Royal Haskoning, a leading environmental consultancy, working in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and the St Andrews University Sea Mammals Research Unit. The program is overseen by an independent body, chaired by David Erwin, a former Chief Executive of the Ulster Wildlife Trust.

Seagen Turbine The A2SEA jack-up barge, “JUMPING JACK”, is planning to mobilize from Belfast’s Harland & Wolf shipyard, where SeaGen is already complete and waiting, to Strangford Lough on August 20th. It is expected that the drilling of a single pile into the seabed and the installation of the twin-turbine device will take 14 days, with commissioning and power generation to the local grid shortly afterwards.

Martin Huss, Sales & Marketing Director of A2SEA said: “We are delighted to be working with MCT on this important and challenging project and hope it is the start of a long and rewarding relationship as tidal technology enters the market place in the UK.”

Update: Installation of SeaGen tidal energy system postponed

Friday, August 3rd 2007 – Marine Current Turbines regret that the installation of its SeaGen tidal energy system, originally set for the end of August, is to be postponed because the jack-up installation vessel, Jumping Jack, had been required to extend its period of work on another contract for a third-party and is also in need of repair work following an accident in port. Marine Current Turbines wishes to install SeaGen in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough before the end of this year and are in discussions with A2Sea, the owners and operators of Jumping Jack, to agree a new date for SeaGen’s installation as soon as possible.

Related Information:

  1. Consent to install the SeaGen device in Strangford Lough was given by the Environment & Heritage Service (Northern Ireland) in December 2005.
  2. Marine Current Turbines has received a 4.27m grant from the DTI’s Technology Program for SeaGen, being approximately 50% of the total cost of this important pioneering renewable energy project.
  3. Marine Current Turbines Ltd is based in Stoke Gifford, Bristol and employs 15 people. The company was established in 2000 and its principal corporate shareholders include BancInvest, EDF Energy, Fugro Seacore, Guernsey Electricity and Olympic Consultants. For further information, please visit
  4. A2SEA

    ( was established in 2000. It is the world’s leading supplier of construction services for the offshore wind farm market. Capabilities include foundation and turbine transport and installation services using either its unique leg suspended crane vessels or full jack up rigs with heavy lift capability. A2SEA has a market leading position in providing turbine repair and maintenance services, and can also perform met mast installation and assist with geotechnical survey work.

Article Submitted by: Paul Taylor

Update: The Seagen installation was recently completed

  • Adrian Akau

    The design of the SeaGen is one of my favorites, not because of its double turbine balance, which is in itself a touch of genius, but mostly because of the fact that it can be raised out of water for adjustment and repairs. Where currents are strong, it is not easy or safe to work on equipment in water.

    Yes, the system may have to be limited to relatively shallow waters and perhaps a different system (tethered turbines) will probably be better for currents in deeper waters but the design of the SeaGen is breath taking and beautiful.

  • Mickey G

    The first commercial tidal power station that I saw was in Nova Scotia so I can’t accept the first for this article.

  • Green Energy TV

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  • ades

    i believe pelamis is wave energy but predates this ‘tidal energy’ as a large scale implementation by a lot

  • Elliot Cafritz

    Very exciting development. How does this design prevent possible marine accidents? In other words, can the turbine blades harm fish?

  • Damien Kane

    I attended a presentation today by MCT in Belfast, and then had a tour of the dual turbine under construction at Harland & Wolff shipyard. It is a very impressive piece of kit – and shows incredible potential for harnessing tidal power. I wish MCT every success with this venture and hope it is the first of many in the UK and Ireland.
    What they have achieved with a team of just 15 people – and a clear vision of the future of marine power generation – is nothing short of amazing.

  • Alfredo Pereira

    Dear Sirs:

    Our company, web page ( is working in order to present a proposal to a cancer clinic institute for the Portuguese “Champalimaud Foundation” in Lisbon- Portugal. The building has about 50.000 sq. meters and it will be constructed just near river “Tejo”. We need to have an idea of the investment to a tidal electric power generation system for 0, 5 MW to 1 MW. Please be so kind in order to give us a approximate price for such a system.

    Yours sincerely, Alfredo Costa Pereira (

  • john davies

    (From Mickey G – The first commercial tidal power station that I saw was in Nova Scotia so I can’t accept the first for this article.

    Watch the video – it’s a TIDAL BARRAGE not a Marine Current system !!!

    The double turbine blades rotate very slowly (10-30 rpm) dependent on the water speed therefor any fish would be moving at approx the same speed and can move out of the way.

  • drbob

    @john davies

    10-30 rpm is not slow. The MCT website claims 10-15 rpm.

    At 15 rpm a 20 meter rotor has a tip speed of 56kph (35 miles an hour). Have you ever seen a fish that can swim that fast? 30rpm would entail a tip speed of 70 miles an hour! Anyone for sea lion paté?

    I think people should wait for the trial results before declaring this a viable solution.

  • john davies

    Sorry for delay in responding. Indeed your speed calculations are correct but unfortunately life & physics ai’nt that simple.

    The leading edge of any body moving through fluid produces a bow wave which pushes objects away to one side.

    When you complete the equation taking ALL factors into consideration, eg:- Hydrodynamic Divergent Bow Waves, Surface Flow, Compressible Flow, Water Density Kinetic energy etc,[This is the calculation just for the Wedge Bow Resistance,- (Rb ~ CD·?U6/g2 (3))], you will find that the machine, while efficient at extracting energy is poor at producing sea lion paté or fish paste.
    (shame, a good business opportunity missed !!)

    For further reading try :-

    Hydrodynamics of Ship Propellers
    John P. Breslin, Poul Andersen

    Detailed Design of Ship Propellers
    Gonzalo Perez Gomez & Juan Gonzalez Adalid

    and works by Rankine, Greenhill and RE Froude

    or search google.

    Good reading, John.

  • paul dimaggio

    I’ve invented a device that caputures tidal energy. Although the sea gen is a great begining there are many faults. I’m in the pattent process. I have a prototype, i hope to finish this soon. When it gets out to the world, i hope i could depend on everyones honest opinion on how to improve.I call it “GMAX technology”. If anyone has patenting experience, please contact me. I’m open to working partnerships. Have a great holiday! and lets change the world- pd

  • Martin O’Looney

    While Seagen is the best design for tidal power that I have seen to date I do not believe the technology itself is very feasible in a worldwide context. My reasoning is mainly due to their limitation of 10 hours generation time per day while the tides are ebbing and flowing, but mainly the scarcity of sites suitable for sufficient energy production vastly limits the validity of this technology as a meaningful renewable energy solution.

  • Martin Jin

    It’s very exciting project.
    Can I ask you?
    1. water depth at the site
    2. drilling equipment(RCD?)
    3. Jack-up barge size
    4. tidal current speed
    5. When do you expect to start tidal power farm?

    God bless you!!

  • drbob

    @Martin Jin

    This article is quite old. The turbine at Strangford Lough has been running for the last couple of years. MCT have just announced a plans for a 99 Megawatt facility near the Shetland islands. Take a look at their website:

    Also, according to the report below fish and marine mammals have not been disturbed by the Strangford Loch turbine, see:

  • frank o farrell

    I would like to know if the process of adjusting the rotor blades to cater for flow and ebbing of the tide is mechanically controlled. I am asking this because I have a system that will self adjust irrespective of whatever way the tide flows.

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