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Siemens increases Marine Current Turbines stake to 45%

Siemens is increasing its stake in the UK-based Marine Current Turbines Ltd. to 45%. “With this increase in its stake, Siemens is strengthening its activities in ocean power generation. We will actively shape the commercialisation process of innovative marine current power plants,” said Michael Axmann, CFO of the newly founded Solar & Hydro Division within Siemens’ Energy Sector.

Siemens entered the marine tidal current sector in February 2010 when it acquired a minor stake in the Bristol-based company, which evolved from a pioneer to a technology leader in horizontal-axis marine current turbines.

Andrew Tyler, CEO 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. We are about to approach investors to secure funding for our first two tidal array projects, and Siemens’ increased investment as well as UK Government support should give investors the confidence that we have the necessary backing and support to deliver these crucial projects and the ones to follow.”

MCT plans to present two Project Investment Prospectuses to the market in November for the 8MW Kyle Rhea project in Scotland and the 10MW Anglesey Skerries project in Wales. For both projects, applications for lease from The Crown Estate have already been approved.

The UK Government’s ROC (Renewable Obligation Certificate) Banding announcement on October 20 recommends the support of tidal power projects with 5 ROCs per MWh. In addition, MCT has an approval for a lease from The Crown Estate to deploy a 100MW tidal farm off Brough Ness on the southernmost tip of the Orkney Islands in Scotland. 

MCT has already successfully 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 1.2MW have been feeding power into the grid to supply about 1500 homes. SeaGen has fed over 2.7GWh of electricity into the grid. This project has thus produced the largest amount of electricity in the whole marine current power sector.

Ocean power is emerging with strong growth rates driven by global CO2 reduction commitments. Until 2020, experts anticipate double-digit growth rates for the ocean power business. Based on further estimates the global potential for power generation using tidal power plants is 800TWh per annum or 3-4% of current power consumption worldwide.

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