Irish utility invests in 1.2-MW Strangford Lough tidal project

Tidal power developer Marine Current Turbines (MCT) has secured a new round of investments in its tidal stream technology as it prepares to begin installation of a 1.2-MW SeaGen tidal energy system at Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough.

The United Kingdom-based MCT said it secured investments totaling 4.8 million pounds (US$9.5 million). It said 3 million pounds (US$5.9 million) is being provided by ESB International, part of Ireland’s national electricity company.

Additional investment is coming from a new investor, Hazel Capital, and existing shareholders, EDF Energy, BankInvest, and Triodos Bank, MCT said. The developer said the funding would give further support to SeaGen and assist future development projects.

In addition, ESB’s retail subsidiary, ESB Independent Energy, has signed a five-year power purchase agreement for all output of the Strangford Lough project. MCT said ESB would be one of the first utilities in the world to offer tidal energy to its customers, as part of its green energy offering.

MCT plans to install the commercial-scale 1.2-MW SeaGen prototype in Strangford Lough by the end of March. (HNN 2/13/08) MCT said it would be the world’s first grid-connected tidal stream device.

In February, MCT and npower renewables announced plans to develop jointly the 10.5-MW Skerries tidal stream power project off the coast of Anglesey, North Wales. In 2007, MCT proposed, with Maritime Tidal Energy Corp. of Nova Scotia, to deploy a tidal power system in Canada’s Bay of Fundy.

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