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Tidal turbine time – making waves

1 April 2011

Ministers have given the go ahead to a £70m project to install underwater turbines in north Wales. The scheme, the brain child of Marine Current Turbines (MCT) and RWE npower Renewables, has been in the pipeline for three years. Yesterday plans and the Environmental Impact Assessment were submitted to WAG, and if given the green light the turbines could be operational by 2015.

The project envisages generating enough electricity to power 10,000 homes and hopes to employ on a long term basis (to install and maintain) manpower from local businesses. A plus for both the local economy and the Government’s green targets.

But what could the environmental and conservation effects be? The answer is, we’re not sure yet. Monitoring of a similar scheme in Northern Ireland has shown no adverse effects in the area, however ongoing close monitoring of the seal population, the habits of sea birds and harbour porpoises continues.

So, only time will tell, the decision on the whether the project proceeds is due at the end of the year. Hopefully the Northern Irish project can qualitatively inform the Welsh scheme by then.

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