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Siemens acquires stake in Marine Current Turbines


Entry into promising ocean power market

Erlangen, Germany, Siemens Energy has acquired a minority stake in Britain’s Marine Current Turbines, a pioneer in the design and development of tidal current energy turbines. With the acquisition of a stake of just below 10 Percent in Marine Current Turbines, which is based in Bristol, England, Siemens is entering a new market with good future prospects and at the same time expanding its Environmental Portfolio.

“With this investment in an early stage company we’re securing access to an innovative technology in the field of renewables,” said René Umlauft, CEO of the Renewable Energy Division of Siemens Energy. “As one of the technology leaders in ocean power Marine Current Turbines is a suitable partner for us to enter the promising ocean power market.” By 2020, experts anticipate double-digit growth rates for the ocean power market.

Marine current turbines generate electricity by utilizing water flows such as tidal currents. The turbine is fixed on a pile and is driven by the flow of the tides. This technology effectively is similar to an underwater wind turbine. The rotor blades are not driven by wind power but by marine currents. The water has an energy density of more than 800 times that of wind. Twin rotors rotate with the movement of the tidal flow and pitch through 180 degrees to optimally track tidal current direction and speed. The key advantage is that the generated power is predictable in the tidal cycle.

Marine Current Turbines has already successfully implemented its first commercial demonstrator project SeaGen in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. Since November 2008, two axial turbines with a combined capacity of 1.2 megawatts have been feeding power into the grid to supply about 1500 homes. SeaGen is therefore currently the world’s most powerful marine current turbine. Suitable sites are essential for the success of such projects. In particular, coastal regions with strong tidal currents such as those in the UK, Ireland, Canada, France and East Asia, offer major potential for this ecofriendly power generation technology. Tidal power stations are part of the Green Grid plan for the North Sea. Nine European countries are planning to connect renewable power generation sources like wind, tidal or hydro power to a HVDC underwater energy grid in the North Sea.

Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines said: “Siemens’ investment in MCT underlines the significant commercial potential that exists for tidal energy across the globe, and enables us to draw upon the company’s extensive knowledge and experience in turbine generation technology. We are delighted to have Siemens on board. Siemens is a company with an outstanding international reputation and will help us develop our technology and deliver tidal energy on a commercial and global basis.”

The Siemens Energy Sector is the world’s leading supplier of a complete spectrum of products, services and solutions for the generation, transmission and distribution of power and for the extraction, conversion and transport of oil and gas. In fiscal 2009 (ended September 30), the Energy Sector had revenues of approximately EUR25.8 billion and received new orders totaling approximately EUR30 billion and posted a profit of EUR3.3 billion. On September 30, 2009, the Energy Sector had a work force of more than 85,100. Further information is available

Marine Current Turbines Ltd was established in 2000. The company has its first commercial demonstrator project SeaGen in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland and it is working on a deployment in Canada’s Bay of Fundy with Canadian company, Minas Bay Pulp & Power. Since February 2008, the company has partnered RWE npower on plans to develop a tidal farm in waters off Anglesey, North Wales. Other shareholders include Carbon Trust Investments (since December 2009), EDF Energy, ESB International and Bank Invest. In September 2009, MCT was ranked the world’s top tidal energy company in The Guardian/Clean Tech Global 100 survey, and in June 2009 won Renewable Energy Developer of the Year in the UK Renewable Energy Association Annual Awards.


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