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Siemens takes 45% in marine power firm

Siemens takes 45% in marine power firm
Engineering giant Siemens has set its sights on commercialising marine energy after boosting its stake in a tidal power developer.

Engineering giant Siemens has set its sights on commercialising marine energy after boosting its stake in a tidal power developer.

The German firm, which has become a leader in the wind turbine market, has increased its stake in Bristol-based Marine Current Turbines (MCT) 45% – although how much it has spent has not been revealed.

MCT has been developing horizontal-axis marine current turbines and has 25 employees.

Siemens first entered the marine tidal sector in February 2010 when it acquired a minor stake in the firm.

It said ocean power was an emerging technology with strong growth rates.

“Until 2020, experts anticipate double-digit growth rates for the ocean power business,” said the firm.

“Based on further estimates the global potential for power generation using tidal power plants is 800 terrawatt-hours (TWh) per annum.

“This equates to 25% above the total power demand in Germany and between 3% and 4% of power consumption worldwide.”

Andrew Tyler, chief executive of MCT, said: “Through the expansion of the partnership with Siemens, we have further strengthened our position in the tidal energy market.

“We have the increased backing of a major industrial player in Siemens, which is essential to support the commercialisation of our proven technology.”

MCT has implemented its first commercial-scale demonstrator project SeaGen in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

Since November 2008, two axial turbines with a combined capacity of 1.2 MW have been feeding power into the grid to supply about 1,500 homes.

Marine current turbines generate electricity by utilising tidal current flows. The SeaGen turbine is fixed on a structure and is driven by the flow of the tides.

The technology is similar to a wind turbine, with the rotor blades driven not by wind power but by tidal currents. An advantage is that the generated power is predictable in the tidal cycle.

“With this increase in its stake, Siemens is strengthening its activities in ocean power generation,” said Michael Axmann, chief financial officer of the Solar & Hydro Division within Siemens’ energy sector.

“We will actively shape the commercialisation process of innovative marine current power plants.”

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