EMEC’s tidal test site lease extended to 2040

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.

Located off Eday, one of Orkney’s northern isles, the Fall of Warness boasts tidal flows reaching up to 4 m per second (around eight knots). It is estimated that about half a billion tonnes of water pass through EMEC’s site per hour at spring tides, according to a press release. This site offers developers of tidal energy technologies eight grid-connected test berths ranging from 12 m to 50 m in depth.

Since the site was officially opened in 2007, 10 tidal energy companies have tested 19 prototypes. Spanish tidal developer Magallanes Renovables deployed its 2-MW ATIR tidal turbine this month as part of the Ocean_2G project.

Scottish developer Orbital Marine Power (formerly Scotrenewables) recently removed its SR1-2000 tidal turbine from the site, after 3 GWh of generation during their latest testing period. They are now focusing on the development of a 2-MW tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, which will be installed as part of the FloTEC and ITEG projects in 2020. Orbital Marine Power was recently awarded a marine license to test its Orbital O2 turbine at EMEC for a project running up to 2039.

“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,” said Neil Kermode, EMEC managing director. “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.”

EMEC was established in 2003 to demonstrate and test wave and tidal energy converters in real sea conditions. The center offers independent, accredited grid-connected test berths for full-scale prototypes, as well as test sites in less challenging conditions for use by smaller scale technologies, supply chain companies and equipment manufacturers. To date, 20 wave and tidal energy clients spanning 11 countries having tested 32 marine energy devices at EMEC.

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