Crown Estate Scotland has extended the lease to the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) Fall of Warness tidal energy test site in Orkney till 2040.
The lease extension is expected to support the long-term ambitions and demonstration plans of EMEC’s clients. EMEC’s Fall of Warness site offers tidal energy technology developers, eight grid-connected test berths ranging between 12 and 50m in depth.
Located off Eday, one of Orkney’s northern isles, the Fall of Warness claims high-velocity tidal flows reaching up to four metres per second (around eight knots). It is estimated that nearly half a billion tonnes of water pass through EMEC’s site per hour at spring tides.
The site was officially opened in 2007 and since then ten tidal energy companies have tested 19 of their prototypes. Most demonstration projects include several deployments and operations which over time have evolved to developers using smaller, lower-cost, local vessels.
EMEC managing director Neil Kermode 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.”
As per the test and research centre, the present demand for its tidal test facilities is steady, as Spanish tidal developer, Magallanes Renovables has deployed its 2MW ATIR tidal turbine this month, as part of the Ocean_2G project.
Recently, Scottish developer, Orbital Marine Power (formerly Scotrenewables) had removed its SR1-2000 tidal turbine from the site, after 3GWh of generation was achieved during its latest testing period.
Orbital Marine is now focused on further optimizing its 2MW tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, which will be installed as part of the FloTEC and ITEG projects in 2020.
Crown Estate Scotland senior development manager Sian Wilson 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.”