Siemens opens new UK production plant for tidal turbines

8 Apr 2013

SeaGen tidal turbine. Image via Siemens

Siemens has today opened the UK’s first-ever tidal turbine production facility in Bristol where it is planning to test and build tidal turbines that will initially be used in tidal turbine farms planned for Wales and Scotland.

The new 25,000 sq-foot plant will test and develop drive trains used in the SeaGen tidal turbine that has been developed by Marine Current Turbines (MCT) – Siemens acquired the Bristol-based tidal energy company in 2012.

According to Siemens, the new plant will be used by the MCT team to assemble and test the first SeaGen tidal turbines. The full system testing of the drive trains will happen at Narec in Northumberland.

The first SeaGen devices built at the Bristol production plant will be deployed at two tidal stream farms that are set to be built by 2016: the Skerries Tidal Stream Array that’s planned off the coast of Anglesey in north Wales; and the Kyle Rhea array planned off the west coast of Scotland.

Speaking today, the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said that the new Siemens testing and assembly facility would help boost the UK’s leading marine energy industry.

He said that wave and tidal power has an important part to play in the UK’s low-carbon energy mix, with the scope to sustain up to 19,000 jobs in this sector by 2035.

“That’s why the Coalition has announced levels of support for wave and tidal power generation that are higher than any other low-carbon technology,” said Davey.

Achim Wörner, chief executive of Siemens’ Energy Hydro and Ocean unit, added that the UK is a key market for Siemens to develop its tidal turbine technology.

“The UK has the right combination of coastal and tidal factors and market development and a favourable investment environment is supported by the government,” he said.

One of these SeaGen turbines has been installed in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland since 2008. Wörner said this turbine is capable of full-scale commercialisation and wider deployment.

“Investment in the new assembly and testing facility in Bristol will enable us to make this step to develop next-generation tidal technology as well as larger arrays,” he added.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic