New Orkney development site
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has been awarded rights to new areas of seabed by the Crown Estate including a tidal stream project in the Stronsay Firth.
(WK-intern) – EMEC already operates two wave test sites and two tidal test sites in Orkney, and is to begin consultation on how best to develop new marine energy development zones having also been awarded rights to manage two further seabed zones in Harris and Islay.
The new Orkney demonstration site in the Stronsay Firth is just south east of EMEC’s existing tidal test site, and will offer additional testing facilities for tidal energy devices, components, subsystems, arrays and array enabling technology.
Neil Kermode, EMEC’s managing director said: “We will soon be embarking on extensive consultation to determine how the site can best be developed to support the evolution of the industry, by asking technology developers and local stakeholders for their insight. It is important that we draw on our 10 years of experience operating test sites around Orkney to manage this new area.
“Technology companies have learnt a huge amount from the real sea trials of the first single prototype machines they have conducted at EMEC. As the industry advances, EMEC wants Orkney to remain in pole position, and ready to respond to the next challenges in relation to research around subsystems, components and array deployments.
“The Crown Estate agreement will enable EMEC to explore and assess the potential of the Stronsay Firth area over coming years. Of course the potential to make the most of this site is limited by the present inadequacies in the grid. However I know there are strenuous efforts going on to deal with this, and so at EMEC we are concentrating on securing the sites to help pioneering test work flourish”.
Councillor James Stockan, Chair of Orkney Islands Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: “I welcome this development as an important step towards the deployment of clusters of marine energy devices working together to generate power from the seas around us.
“That is crucial to the future commercial success of the industry. It also sends a clear message about Orkney’s central role in this – at a time when we are working with the Scottish and UK Governments to find solutions to the grid constraints we face.
“The Council supported the creation of EMEC and continues to support the evolution of wave and tidal technologies in our local waters. It is good to see EMEC’s knowledge and expertise recognised in this way.”
The Islay and Harris development sites will be managed by consortia including Islay Energy Trust, and West Harris Trust with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar with whom EMEC has already established Memoranda of Understanding. These sites will complement EMEC’s existing test sites by providing developers with a different set of marine characteristics, and may be used for single device testing and/or small array testing, with overall site limits of up to 100MW.
Neil Kermode continued: “Expanding our facilities in Orkney and working with Islay and Harris, will help pave the way for the development of marine energy opportunities nationwide – opportunities which have the potential to be of significant benefit to coastal communities in future if we can lay the correct groundwork now.”