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Underwater windmill connected to grid

What has been described as an underwater windmill by its creators has been connected to the national grid for the first time.

A commercial-scale tidal generator was connected to the national grid yesterday (July 17th) in Northern Ireland.

The SeaGen turbine was developed by Bristol-based organisation Marine Current Turbines (MCT) and tested at the Stangfrod Lough site.

When operating at full capacity, the turbine is expected to produce 1,200 kilowatts (kW) of energy - enough to power 1,000 homes.

However, it will be running at 150kW to begin with and increasing to 300kW later in the year.

Speaking of his hopes for the industry, Martin Wright, managing director of MCT, said: "I hope it makes people believe that tidal power isn't 20 to 30 years away and a dream, but it is something that, if we get the right resources around it, could become a significant reality and contributor much quicker than that."

A feasibility study was launched last week into the possibility of constructing an interconnected grid that would supply wind and wave energy to Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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