New momentum for Northern Ireland tidal scheme

Plans for a marine tidal energy scheme of up to 200MW off the coast of County Antrim by Northern Ireland-based THETIS Energy Ltd are gaining momentum.

Results from the project’s 2009 environmental scoping report indicated that the proposed development area off Torr Head in north Antrim was suitable for commencing preliminary engineering and technical investigations, which have now successfully concluded.

Following these investigations, B9 Energy Offshore Developments Ltd has agreed terms with the other consortium partners to acquire 100 per cent of the shareholding in THETIS Energy Ltd.

THETIS Energy has also appointed RES Offshore and JP Kenny to carry out a further range of feasibility studies. As members of the project management team RES Offshore and JP Kenny will provide environmental and consent management services together with technical and engineering resources to cover outline project design; electrical systems; transmission options and construction, operations and decommissioning strategies.

The UK's Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment has recently put out to consultation the results of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of Northern Ireland’s marine tidal resource. Upon final publication of this and the Department’s Strategic Action Plan for marine renewables, it is envisaged that the UK's Crown Estate will make a call for proposals for marine tidal projects.

Subject to the outcome of the SEA and further feasibility assessments, THETIS aims to submit detailed proposals for a commercial marine tidal stream project in Northern Ireland of 100-200 MW installed capacity, which could potentially be capable of meeting approximately 5% of Northern Ireland’s electricity demand.

Northern Ireland currently has one of the highest energy dependencies in Western Europe, importing 98% of all energy it uses. European Union renewable energy targets for the UK to generate 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 could require approximately 35-40% of electricity to come from renewable energy sources.

Marine Current Turbines (MCT) has successfully implemented its first commercial tidal energy demonstrator project in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, using its SeaGen tidal turbine. Since November 2008, two axial tidal turbines with combined capacity of 1.2 MW have met the energy needs of 1500 homes during 1000 hours of operation. Siemens Energy recently acquired a minority stake in the company.


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Other marine energy and hydropower  •  Wave and tidal energy