Minesto’s ocean energy unit produces power off Northern Ireland

A Minesto “Deep Green” ocean energy generating unit is now producing power in the waters off Northern Ireland, marking the first time a system designed for low velocity currents has produced electricity at sea, the company said.

The ocean trials are being conducted with a 1:4 scale unit in Strangford Lough and demonstrate power production from slow currents using a surface-mounted installation, which is, according to Minesto, “directly transferable to full commercial installations in ocean currents”.

“It has been a long fight to get to the point where we are but when you have what we have, it is worth it,” Minesto CEO Anders Jansson said. “This is a break-through for the entire renewable energy industry. We will produce renewable electricity with high reliability to a cost that will compete, or even be lower, than conventional energy sources”

The trials will pave the way for a full-scale Deep Green installation, which is planned for 2015 and also possibly to be located in the United Kingdom.

“Ocean currents are the hidden treasure of renewable energy sources,” Jansson said. “With their almost continuous water flows they carry large amounts of renewable energy over the globe and with a high load factor compared to weather dependent sources like wind or solar power. The resource is predictable and feasible for providing base grid power, and has minimal environmental impact.”

Minesto describes the Deep Green system as an “underwater kite, comprised of a wing and a turbine which is secured to the seabed with a tether.” The unit then “moves with great speed in an 8-shaped path in the tidal or ocean current”, thus spinning the turbine and generating power.

The Swedish company was recently recognized as one of the country’s hottest young technology companies in being named to the “33 List” compiled by technology magazine Ny Teknik and business publication Affarsvarlden.

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