Strangford Lough turbine removal

Strangford Lough turbine removal

22 August 2018

THE world’s first underwater turbine generator on Strangford Lough will soon be no more.

A major decommissioning operation on the revolutionary Seagen tidal generator is currently taking place.

All that remains of the £10m project installed ten years ago is a solitary tower which will be removed in November.

However, the removal of Seagen does not mean the end of tidal generated power on Strangford Lough.

Two smaller experimental underwater turbines have been installed on the seabed off Portaferry and it is understood that another turbine could be in operation by 2020.

The dismantling operation began last week and involved a massive crane being taken into the middle of the lough aboard a 44-metre barge which came from Troon in Scotland.

The first part of the operation involve the removal of the cross-beam which held the turbine blades.

On Sunday two massive lifting legs were removed and on Monday the control pod was taken off the top of the central tower.

Yesterday a lid was welded on to the top of the tower and the navigation lights were reinstated. The tower will be removed between November and April.

For many local people the dismantling work marks the end of an era. The world’s press watched when Seagen was towed into place in March 2008 and hopes were high that it would be a source of clean and cheap electricity.

It was the world’s first and largest tidal energy generator and was specifically designed for the fast-flowing waters of the Strangford Narrows.

A spokesman for owners Simec Atlantis Energy said: “Even during decommissioning SeaGen continues to provide invaluable information to help us understand the engineering and environmental requirements related to the complete life-cycle of a tidal stream development.

“SeaGen has played a pivotal role in the development of tidal energy technology, installed in 2008 SeaGen delivered 10 GWh of electricity to the Northern Ireland grid. 

“The engineering lessons learnt and operational experience gathered during installation and operation advanced the development of SeaGen tidal technology. The environmental data has furthered the understanding of the environmental impacts of tidal technology upon the marine environment.”

The spokesman added: “The SeaGen Project has been a resounding success. Atlantis continues to utilise the data acquired in Strangford to explore development opportunities at tidal sites around the world.”