Being an outdoor girl Greenbang always loved playing in the waves off the coast of Devon. She was a terrible surfer but that never stopped her. Being from the West Country Greenbang had always hoped the first wave power project would be in the Bristol Channel; its exceptionally strong tides would have made the ideal wave farm. But it was not to be.
Whilst the debate raged about the Bristol Channel’s wave power proposals Northern Ireland simply got on with it.
News came out at the end of last week that the UK finally has wave power. Built by a Bristol based firm, Sea Generation Ltd, the SeaGen project has been built in Strangford Lough, a large sheltered bay on the East Coast of Northern Ireland.
According to the Sea Generation Ltd web site:
SeaGen is… a 1.2MW tidal energy converter that will be installed in Strangford Lough … has been has been licensed for a maximum installed duration of 5 years.
What has been particularly surprising is that the project got the go ahead. The Bristol Channel project has been plagued with fears over damage to wildlife. As the Daily Mail put it, Strangford Lough is a breeding ground for common seals, but the company said the speed of the rotors is so low – no more than 10 to 15 revolutions per minute – that they are unlikely to pose a threat to marine wildlife.
A good video of how wave generation works was posted by Greenpeace in 2006. It can be seen here.