Rambiz installs 1,000t tidal turbine

4 April 2008

The Belgian crane barge Rambiz has been used to install an innovative 1,000t tidal turbine off the coast of Northern Ireland.

The SeaGen turbine is designed to stand beneath the fast flowing waters of Stranford Narrows, where it will generate 1.2MW of power, enough for 1,000 homes. It was assembled at Harland & Wolff's yard in Belfast, and then carried to the narrows by the Rambiz. The turbine is roughly 1km south of the ferry route between Strangford and Portaferry, approximately 400m from the shoreline. When fully operational later in the summer, its 16m diameter, twin rotors will operate for up to 18-20 hours per day.

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The 3,300t capacity Rambiz carried the turbine from Belfast, and then lowered it on to the seafloor. The crane barge has now left, to return to Belgium. Completing the installation of the turbine will take around two weeks. Fugro Seacore will use four 9m pin piles to secure the legs of the turbine to the ocean floor. Once the turbine is installed, it will take around 12 weeks to prepare get it ready to supply electricity to the local grid.

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Credit: Marine Current Turbines

Martin Wright, managing director of Marine Current Turbines, said, ““SeaGen is a hugely exciting project, as well as an historic achievement for both Marine Current Turbines and for renewables in the UK and Ireland. Tidal energy has the great advantage of being predictable and no other system can harness the power of the tidal currents in the way this one can. We take great pride and see enormous potential in the technology and hope it will eventually make a significant contribution to the future energy needs of the British Isles, Ireland and beyond.”

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