Northern Ireland

Tidal turbine: World's most powerful generator built in Belfast

A tidal generator on its side waiting to be launched.
Image caption The world's most powerful tidal turbine which has been built at Harland and Wolff

The world's most powerful tidal energy turbine has been assembled at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

One of the yard's cranes, Goliath, will lower the 520-tonne structure into Belfast Lough on Wednesday.

Each of the its twin rotor arms produces 1 megawatt of energy - enough to power thousands of homes when connected to the electricity grid.

After trials in the lough, the turbine will be used off the Orkney Islands.

The 75-metre long structure has taken a year to put together.

It will float on the water with the rotors dropped below the surface.

Image caption Harland and Wolff will set the massive tidal turbine into the water on Wednesday

The yard's owner, Fred Olson, is also involved in the company behind the turbine, Scotrenewables Tidal Power.

Its chief executive, Andrew Scott, said: "Iconic places like Harland and Wolff do need to see new business.

"Perhaps this will make it continue to be great going into the future."

In March, the yard announced 60 jobs were set to go - about one third of its permanent workforce.

In its heyday as a shipbuilder it employed 35,000.

An Irish company, DP Energy, has plans for a major tidal power project one kilometre off Fair Head in north Antrim.

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