Tidal energy innovations will be tested in Scottish waters for another 20 years, after Crown Estate Scotland extended the current lease of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) testing site in Orkney, Scotland.
EMEC has tested 19 different tidal turbine prototypes since the test facility was set up in 2007.
It will now be open to new turbine testing until 2040.
The test site is situated off the coast of Eday, one of Orkney’s northern isles at the Fall of Warness. It has a powerful tide that makes it an ideal spot to test experimental tidal energy technology.
Tidal flows reach up to 4m/s in the area. It is estimated that around 500M.t of water pass through the site every hour during spring tides.
Demand for the site is high with Scottish developer Orbital Marine Power recently completing a round of testing with its SR1-2000 tidal turbine, designed with folding turbine blades for easy transport.
Spanish floating ATIR tidal turbine
EMEC managing director Neil Kermode said the site would provide useful results on the effects of corrosion, survivability, and reliability of new devices.
“Long term technology demonstration and operation will generate valuable learning for the whole industry, notably around corrosion, reliability and survivability of devices, components and subsystems,” he said.
“Even as the sector begins to commercialise, we believe that there will still be demand to have a test ground to improve efficiency and reduce costs even further.”
Orbital Marine Power chief executive officer Andrew Scott said the site was “instrumental” to the tidal sector.
“EMEC has been instrumental for the whole tidal sector for over a decade, and that includes ourselves where their facilities and services have enabled us to prove our engineering and technology in a grid connected, real-life environment through the pioneering test programmes.”
Orbital Marine Power recently unveiled the design for its next tidal turbine, the Orbital O2 which will be undergoing tests at the Fall of Warness site (see video below).
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