British tidal energy company, Marine Current Turbines, announced that Siemens is increasing its share in the company to 45%. Marine Current Turbines (MCT) has evolved into horizontal axis marine current turbines and now has 25 employees. In February 2010 Siemens acquired a minor stake in the Bristol-based company and thus entered the marine tidal current market. Financial details of announcement were not disclosed. MCT plans to present two Project Investment Prospectuses to the market within the next month for its 8 megawatts (MW) Kyle Rhea project in Scotland and its 10 MW Anglesey Skerries project in Wales. For both projects, applications for leases from The Crown Estate have already been approved. The UK Government’s recent ROCs Banding announcement (October 20) will support these projects with 5 ROCs per megawatt hour proposed for tidal energy. In addition, MCT is planning to deploy a tidal system into the FORCE facility in Canada’s Bay of Fundy and has an approval for a lease from The Crown Estate to deploy a 100 MW tidal farm off Brough Ness, on the southernmost tip of the Orkney Islands in Scotland. MCT has already implemented its first commercial scale demonstrator project SeaGen in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. Since November 2008, SeaGen’s two axial turbines, with a combined capacity of 1.2MW, have been feeding power into the grid to supply the equivalent of around 1500 homes. SeaGen has to date generated over 2.7GWh of electricity to the grid, the largest amount of electricity in the whole of the ocean power sector. Marine current turbines generate electricity by utilizing tidal current flows. The SeaGen turbine is fixed on a structure and is driven by the flow of the tides with a key advantage that the generated power is predictable in the tidal cycle. This technology effectively is similar to that of a wind turbine with the rotor blades driven not by wind power but by tidal currents. Water has an energy density of more than 800 times that of wind. Twin rotors rotate with the movement of the tidal flow and pitch through 180 degrees to optimally track tidal current direction and speed. Marine current turbines are part of Siemens’ Environmental Portfolio. In fiscal 2010, revenue from the Portfolio totalled about EUR28 billion, making Siemens the world’s largest supplier of eco-friendly technologies.
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