Simec Atlantis decommissions 1.2MW SeaGen tidal project in Northern Ireland

Simec Atlantis Energy has completed the decommissioning of its 1.2MW SeaGen tidal turbine support structure in Strangford Narrows, Northern Ireland.

The project is said to be the first commercial-scale tidal turbine development to be fully decommissioned while the move marks the completion of the SeaGen project lifecycle.

UK-based marine business Keynvor MorLift (KML) served as the principal contractor for the SeaGen decommissioning project. It carried out decommissioning engineering, planning and offshore works.

Simec said in a statement: “The final major lift operations included the rigging, cutting and lifting of the over 500-tonne structure by KML which was safely and expertly executed at Strangford Lough.”

SeaGen project was installed in 2008

When installed in 2008, the SeaGen project became the world’s first commercial scale, electricity generating, grid-connected tidal stream project.

Over its operational life, the project exported over 11.6GWh of power. The lessons learned from the project have underpinned both present and future global tidal turbine development.

The lessons learned from the project also helped in the success of MeyGen, a tidal stream project of up to 398MW at an offshore site between Scotland’s northernmost coast and the island of Stroma.

Simec noted: “The MeyGen now exported circa 19GWh of electricity to the national grid and its total system availability, a key performance metric, is approaching 90% for 2019 to date.”

Atlantis CEO Tim Cornelius said: “SeaGen’s successful decommission represents a major milestone moment for the tidal power industry.

“Not only has it validated the complete project lifecycle of a tidal stream energy development, moreover, we have done so with a tidal stream project of full commercial scale, that was connected to the grid.”

For the SeaGen tidal project, the first phase of the decommissioning programme started in May 2016 with the removal of the system’s two 600kW Powertrains.

In August last year, the project’s topsides and crossbeam were removed followed by the completion of final works involving the removal of the remaining tower and subsea structure.

Atlantis acquired the SeaGen system from Siemens in 2015 with the purchase of Bristol-based tidal business, Marine Current Turbines (MCT).