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11 April 2013 | Adam Leach
The UK tidal energy supply chain has been boosted by the opening of a new Siemens test centre in Bristol to support the expansion of the world’s largest tidal turbine.
This week the firm opened a 25,000 square foot testing and assembly facility to trial the drive trains that will be used in the expansion of SeaGen, the world’s first and largest tidal turbine. The work on SeaGen, which is being done by Marine Current Turbines, fully owned by Siemens, is expected to stimulate growth in the hydropower supply chain.
Speaking at the opening of the centre in Bristol, energy secretary Edward Davey said: “Siemens’ new testing facility for tidal turbines in Bristol is a real boost for the South West and for the UK’s world leading marine energy industry. Wave and tidal power has an important part to play in our low-carbon energy mix, with the potential to sustain up to 19,000 jobs in this sector alone by 2035.”
Achim Wörner, CEO of Siemens Energy’s hydro and ocean unit, said: “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. Further commercialisation will have a positive effect on the supply chain, job creation and the generation of eco-friendly electricity for the UK.”
SeaGen was installed between Strangford and Portaferry in Northern Ireland in 2008 and connected to the grid in July of that year. It is the world’s largest commercial tidal stream energy generator.