Proposals for an array of 1MW floating sub sea turbines are being considered in New Zealand for deployment in the tidal currents of the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands.

The project, under investigation by Neptune Power, could ultimately see up to 7000 turbines anchored to the sea floor some 40m below the surface. The prototype turbine is currently undergoing testing in the Orkney Islands, off Scotland.

Neptune founders Chris Bathurst and David Beach intend to have the first turbine installed by 2008 with the project eventually stretching over about 200km2 from Marlborough Sounds towards Wellington and Cloudy Bay.

The turbines are expected to generate at around NZc12/kWh (US cents 7/kWh).