Crown Estate Scotland has granted an extension to the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) lease for the Fall of Warness tidal energy test site in Orkney until 2040.
The extension will support the long-term ambitions and demonstration plans of EMEC’s clients.
EMEC’s Fall of Warness site offers developers of tidal energy technologies eight grid-connected test berths ranging from 12-50 metres in depth.
Located off Eday, one of Orkney’s northern isles, the Fall of Warness boasts high-velocity tidal flows reaching up to four metres per second (around eight knots). It is estimated that around half a billion tonnes of water pass through EMEC’s site per hour at spring tides.
Since the site was officially opened in 2007, ten tidal energy companies have tested 19 prototypes. Most demonstration projects involve multiple deployments and operations which over time have evolved to developers using smaller, lower-cost, local vessels.
Demand for the EMEC tidal test facilities is steady, with Spanish tidal developer, Magallanes Renovables, having deployed their 2 MW ATIR tidal turbine this month as part of the Ocean_2G project.
Scottish developer, Orbital Marine Power (formerly Scotrenewables) recently removed their SR1-2000 tidal turbine from the site, following 3 GWh of generation during their latest testing period. They are now focusing on the development of a further optimised 2 MW tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, which will be installed as part of the FloTEC and ITEG projects in 2020.
Neil Kermode, Managing Director at EMEC said:
“By extending the lease at EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal test site we can provide our clients, their shareholders and potential investors with long-term assurance for those contracted to test their tidal generators with us.
“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. 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.”
Sian Wilson, Senior Development Manager at Crown Estate Scotland said:
“This is an important step which will help secure EMEC’s position as a vital hub for marine energy technology development for years to come. It’s also a big landmark for Orkney which has firmly established itself as the capital of the UK marine energy sector. As the body that manages leasing of Scotland’s seabed, we’re keen to do all we can to support offshore renewables and are therefore delighted to be able to work with EMEC and their clients.”
Orbital Marine Power, the test centre’s longest standing tenant, was recently awarded a marine licence to test its upcoming commercial production tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, at EMEC for a project running up to 2039.
Andrew Scott, CEO at Orbital Marine Power said:
“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 both the pioneering SR250 and SR2000 test programmes. We are excited about maintaining this world leading status in the years to come, for EMEC and ourselves, with the long term deployment of the new O2 turbine next year.”
Alejandro Marques, CEO at Magallanes Renovables said:
“The extension of EMEC’s tidal test site lease is excellent news and a recognition of EMEC’s efforts in promoting and supporting marine renewables. The extension will have a positive impact on tidal developers including Magallanes Renovables, by enabling them to validate their technology in a real sea environment.”