Seagen Wales Island Tidal Assessment

by Ray Jones

A full assessment of tidal energy and wave characteristics off Anglesey, North Wales has been completed by oceanographic consultant Partrac for SeaGen Wales, who are proposing a tidal energy farm off the island coast.

In a joint venture between Marine Current Turbines and Npower Renewables, SeaGen Wales plans to advance a 10.5 MW project using seven SeaGen turbines in the Langdon Ridge between Skerries Rocks and Carmel Head, in north west Anglesey.

If all goes to plan, the joint venture aims to complete the tidal farm by 2011 to 2012. SeaGen turbines are 1.5 MW tidal energy turbines that were first installed in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, and which now feed the grid.

As part of its assessment work, Partrac used a number of Nortek acoustic wave and current analysers (AWACs) and RDI acoustic doppler current profilers at various seabed locations in the Langdon Ridge area.

The Partrac oceanographic team has carried out a number of data gathering projects for alternative energy projects such as offshore wind farms around the UK coast.

Using high intensity sampling techniques, the marine geosciences consultant has accumulated data on turbulence, cross-structure tidal forces, the background wave climate for the region, as well as an overall profile of tidal conditions.

Given the specific tidal profile off the Skerries, Partrac's diving and oceanographic teams were restricted to a window of only ten minutes to deploy the equipment.

In this time period their divers had to ensure the recording equipment was positioned correctly to achieve the most accurate results.

With the information collected from these measurements SeaGen Wales is now able to move forward to the next stage of their project.

Looking to the future, Anglesey is destined to be the energy island of the future and this tidal power project is just one part of a big jigsaw.

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