Scotrenewables Tidal Power Launches World’s Largest Tidal Turbine

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Two retractable horizontal axis turbines mounted just under the sea surface on a floating hull platform ensure that the generators capture tidal flows where they are strongest, closest to the surface.

Orkney based Scotrenewables Tidal Power has launched its 2MW SR2000, the world’s largest energy generating tidal turbine. The company, which is at the forefront of the floating tidal technology sector, launched the 550 tonne machine at Harland & Wolff Heavy Industries Ltd in Belfast on Thursday May 12th. This is the first commercial scale machine the company has built. The turbine will undergo preliminary tow trials in Belfast Lough before being towed to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney to commence a grid connected test program.

The SR2000 is the culmination of more than 12 years of a detailed and incremental engineering R&D program, with the project being supported by £1.25m funding under the Scottish Government’s WATERS2 initiative. The turbine design follows Scotrenewables’ floating generating platform philosophy, which the company expects will deliver a step-change cost and risk reduction to the commercial tidal energy sector.

Speaking at the launch the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Scott, said, “This is an exciting time for the Company and a major milestone to reach, and is the result of an enormous effort by a dedicated team at Scotrenewables. We’ve also been fortunate to have been supported by a committed group of suppliers through the build, especially here with Harland and Wolff in Belfast.” Talking of the forward program Andrew added, “We’re now looking forward to getting the machine up to EMEC and start the test program to demonstrate more of the clear engineering and cost advantages our approach can bring to the commercial tidal sector.”

The company’s progress has been underpinned by longstanding support and investment of more than £25 million from main investors: ABB, (Scottish Government’s) Renewable Energy Investment Fund, DP Energy, Fred. Olsen Group, and Total New Energies.

Simon de Pietro, CEO of DP Energy and key investor in the project says the tidal energy sector is rapidly approaching maturity. “The sector is now beyond its emerging phase and the SR2000 device is a bold step forward proving the viability of tidal as a sustainable, reliable and predictable energy source.”

Steel fabrication of the machine was carried out by fabricators in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England with assembly and commissioning of the SR2000 taking place at Harland & Wolff shipyard over the past 12 months, drawing on H&W’s 150 years of marine manufacturing experience to deliver this next generation technology.

CEO of H&W, Robert Cooper, speaking of the project said the firm remains to the fore of renewable offshore energy developments. “We are very pleased to be able to deliver this state of the art device and to help Scotland and Northern Ireland develop new energy generating technologies.”

Scotrenewables Tidal Power Launches World's Largest Tidal Turbine

The majority of the turbine’s internal components are contained within the hull itself, above the waterline, for ease of access and maintenance.

Scotrenewables Tidal Power Limited is an engineering company based on the Orkney Islands specializing in the development of a tidal energy turbine technology with the potential to produce a step-change reduction in the cost of energy from tidal stream flows. The company’s novel floating technology offers a low cost solution for simplified and safe manufacture, installation, access and maintenance of units along with the ability to use low cost, small workboats for all offshore operations.

In 2011 the Carbon Trust identified the SRTP technology as a ‘second generation’ tidal stream technology with the potential to deliver a step-change cost reduction to the sector in the Accelerating Marine Energy report.

The technology has been under continuous engineering development, including rigorous testing of scaled systems in both tank conditions and open ocean environments, since its inception in 2002. Prior to the current SR2000 (2MW) unit the company delivered and operate a 250kW (SR250) generator in 2011, which was the first to export electricity to the UK electricity grid from floating tidal energy at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in 2012.

In parallel with the SR2000 project, Scotrenewables has also recently been selected by the European Commission to lead on the engineering and delivery of a further enhanced model of the SR2000 machine for demonstration alongside the existing unit. Under a Horizon 2020 funding call Scotrenewables will lead a consortium of nine parties to optimize the SR2000 under the £10m “FloTEC” project. This project will incorporate valuable learning from the SR2000 demonstration program ahead of commercial scales. The enhanced machine will be manufactured in 2017 with testing and demonstration also at EMEC supported by EU funding through until mid-2019.

The company currently employs 25 staff from its headquarters in Kirkwall providing highly skilled jobs in disciplines such as electrical, mechanical, and offshore engineering along with leading expertise in hydrodynamics and offshore operations.

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