ESBI and MCT will submit a proposal to the forthcoming Marine Leasing Round in Northern Ireland, the first step in securing an Agreement for Lease from the Crown Estate to commence formal consenting of the project. If successful, the initial phase of the project, which will use the MCT SeaGen device, could be in operation by 2018.

ESBI is currently preparing an environmental scoping report on the project as an initial step in undertaking a full environmental impact assessment. In order to gain a thorough understanding of the tidal potential, it has also undertaken tidal resource measurements off the Antrim coast over the summer months. This data is currently being analysed and it is planned to undertake further surveys in the coming months.

“We look forward to working with MCT on this exciting new project. Our aim is to use our experience and technical strength to support the development of a viable ocean energy industry in Ireland and this project is an important step in realising that goal,” said ESB Chief Executive, Padraig McManus.

“Our agreement with ESBI, which has been a valued shareholder in MCT for two and a half years, confirms MCT’s tidal technology at being in the forefront in the race to harness the power of tides,” added Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines. “We are pleased that ESBI has chosen MCT to develop the initial phase of this project.”

A 1.2MW SeaGen project has been operating in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough since April 2008 and last month achieved an operational milestone by delivering its 2 millionth kWh of power to the grid.