Blades of power: Shown above is one of the turbines for the SeaGen project. It is 16 meters in diameter and produces 600 kilowatts of power. It turns at 14 revolutions per minute.
SeaGen is a $20 million project, and Fraenkel estimates that any such project right now costs $7 to $8 million per megawatt. “The technology is emerging, so right now it is expensive,” says Taylor. “But we expect that as it gets developed at a commercial scale and we learn more about it, it will be at a price consistent with other forms of renewable energy.” He says that he expects Nova Scotia Power’s one-megawatt plant to be installed in the Bay of Fundy in 2009. It will be operated for a two-year demonstration project. Clean Current Power Systems of Vancouver, Canada also announced plans to build a system that generates two megawatts of power from the tidal currents in the Bay of Fundy in 2009.
MCT has even larger plans. It has teamed up with a German utility company to build a 10.5-megawatt project off the coast of North Wales. Fraenkel says that the company has already started working on the system, which should be developed within three years.