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In Northern Ireland, the first commercial tidal flow power generator has been installed. The single column/double rotor unit will generate enough power for over 1,000 homes. Unlike wind power, the times of peak output are entirely predicatable.

In Antarctica, BBC film makers have discovered a unique colony of penguins previously unknown to science.

OK onto the serious stuff. The 1.2Mw tidal power converter is being installed in Strangford Loch, Northern Ireland by Sea Generation Ltd. Although a fully commercial installation, it will be closely monitored for its environmental impact.

Strangford Loch is home to common seals (misnamed as rarer than other breeds now). Basking sharks and small cetaceans also enter the tidal loch. The rotor blades are expected to allow through smaller fish but the close monitoring is to ensure that these larger sharks and mammals are not injured.

The design of the unit has been slightly adapted so that it can be placed in position from a crane barge. This makes for a very fast installation of large arrays. The UK has the largest proportion of tidal energy in the EU and tital power could provide 5% of total energy needs.

Originally posted to Lib Dem FoP on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:03 PM PDT.

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