Sunday, 1 January 2012

Tidal energy turbine set up in sea
26 Dec 2011

A 100ft underwater turbine destined to form part of a major tidal energy project has been installed in the sea around Orkney. The one MW ( MW) device, which can power the annual electricity needs of 500 homes, will now undergo a series of tests to check its performance and reliability. It will eventually be used in the world's largest tidal stream energy development, in the Sound of Islay in the west of Scotland.

Those behind the project said the installation of the device at Orkney signalled a "major step forward for the global marine renewable energy industry". The HS1000 tidal turbine has been developed by the company Hammerfest Strom and was installed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. It will now enter a test period in preparation for larger-scale production.

It is the same machine that will be used by ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) as part of the world's first tidal turbine array in Islay. The £40 million project, aimed at harnessing the power of the sea to generate enough electricity for more than 5,000 homes, received planning consent from the Scottish Government in March.

Officials hope the Orkney tests will help them to finalise the timetable for the Islay project, with machines being installed as early as possible between 2013 and 2015. SPR chief executive Keith Anderson said: "We are delighted that the HS1000 turbine has been successfully installed in Orkney and Hammerfest engineers deserve huge credit for carrying out this difficult operation in very testing weather conditions. We look forward to monitoring its progress when fully operational next year.

"This is a major milestone in the development of tidal power technology in Scotland, and for the tidal power industry across the world. We anticipate using this turbine as part of our project in Islay, which will be the first of its kind in the world, and remains the only consented tidal array project in Scotland".

Strom Stein Atle Andersen, managing director of Hammerfest, said: "The device was installed in one of Europe's most challenging waters, during the roughest time of the year, which shows the extreme conditions the technology and the team is capable of handling".