The Swedish company Minesto has secured rights from The Crown Estate to perform tests off the coast of Northern Ireland to determine if they can generate electricity from low velocity currents and ocean tides.
Minesto, no stranger to marine power, has already developed technology to produce electricity from low velocity tidal and ocean currents.
The Northern Ireland Environmental Agency has granted permits for Minesto to begin trials on Deep Green, the company’s latest ocean current energy solution. Deep Green has been designed and engineered to be a sweeping underwater kite.
The kite is made up of a wing and turbine and is tethered to the seabed and moves in a quick figure eight pattern in the tidal current. By so doing, the kite generates a tremendous amount of electricity.
Obtaining the site permit is a victory for Minesto since it signals the possibility of mainstream acceptance and widespread commercialization. In fact, if successful, the technology may double the amount of tidal power the UK is able to produce. The second round of sea trials will commence in 2013 at a scale of 1:4 for up to two years. If all goes according to plan and the technology is validated, Deep Green will be scaled up.
Unlike other alternative energy sources, ocean current energy is predictable, reliable, unseen, has no negative environmental impact, is low maintenance, and cost effective. Out of sight, out of mind, while being high impact and generating large amounts of electricity.