Marine energy in Scotland

An underwater turbine that is set to be used in Scotland’s first and only tidal energy project has successfully completed an initial testing period.

The 1MW HS1000 power generator was installed last December and has since undergone a range of tests in the fast flowing tidal waters around the Island of Orkney. ScottishPower Renewables plans to use the technology as part of the world’s first tidal turbine array in the Sound of Islay.

Developed by Norweigan firm Andritz Hydro Hammerfest, the tidal turbine is designed to power the annual electricity needs of 500 homes. Its design is based on a mixture of technology used in traditional onshore wind turbines, subsea oil and gas production and in hydro power plants.

The turbine can be monitored from the European Marine Energy Centre base in Eday, but engineers can also operate and inspect it from Glasgow using mobile connections and an on-board camera.

Stein Atle Andersen, managing director of Andritz, commented: "The 1MW pre commercial device is an important step in our staged strategy for developing reliable and cost efficient tidal energy converting devices and power plants. The tests being carried out so far have confirmed the design basis for the technology and given comfort concerning the device’s capacity.

"We are still early in the testing programme with endurance, availability and reliability being the most imminent factors for asserting a proper basis for developing commercial tidal energy power plants. However, we are already well into design engineering for the first power plant. In total we believe this is an important step forward for the industry in general by demonstrating that commercial size developments are feasible."

Keith Anderson, ceo of ScottishPower Renewables, added: "The performance of the first HS1000 device has given us great confidence so far. Engineers were able install the device during atrocious weather conditions, and it has been operating to a very high standard ever since. We have already greatly developed our understanding of tidal power generation, and this gives us confidence ahead of implementing larger scale projects."