1MW Orkney tidal project paves way for “world’s first” tidal array  

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Renewable Energy Focus has a post on the commissioning of a tidal power array in Scotland - 1MW Orkney tidal project paves way for “world’s first” array. PhysOrg has more - Scotland passes turbine test to harness tidal power.

A 1MW tidal power device has started full export of power in Scottish waters, paving the way for ScottishPower, to deploy the technology in the “world’s first” tidal array.

The 1MW HS1000 tidal turbine, developed by Norway’s Andritz Hydro Hammerfest, was installed in the fast-flowing waters around Orkney last December. It has now successfully completed a range of tests, and is supplying electricity to the island of Eday, one of Orkney’s northern isles.

The test device in Orkney aims to fully prove that the technology can operate efficiently in Scotland’s fast flowing tides, that monitoring and maintenance operations can be honed and to help drive down costs in operations and installation.

The technology will be used by Iberdrola-owned ScottishPower Renewables as part of the “world’s first” tidal turbine array in the Sound of Islay. The company’s proposal for a 10MW tidal array received planning consent from the Scottish government in March 2011.

The Scotsman has some additional commentary on the politics of tidal power in the UK - Comment: Lord Smith not convinced by toe in the water.
IT WAS perhaps just a bit of bad luck that Lord Smith of Kelvin, the chairman of the much-anticipated Green Investment Bank (GIB), kicked investment in wave and tidal power into the long grass on the same day the sector highlighted it was desperate for cash.

The Marine Energy Action Plan, unveiled by the Scottish Government and its industry-led Marine Energy Group, reported on the significant progress made by Scotland’s wave and tidal energy sector.

It counted the 11 wave and tidal devices deployed or being deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney, adding that there will be three more being tested by 2014.

Near Islay, there is also the world’s largest consented tidal stream project that will deploy the HS1000 tidal device in a project being undertaken by ScottishPower Renewables and the Austrian/Norwegian group, Andritz Hydro Hammerfest.

Then there is the Crown Estate’s leasing agreements for projects with a potential to produce up to 1,600 MW in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters.

But, as Niall Stuart, the chief executive of industry body Scottish Renewables points out, getting the finance to scale up these projects to commercially viable arrays is a “major challenge”, not to mention the “massive costs to connect these projects to the grid”.

So where is the money going to come from? There are some technology developers that have got at least some support and investment from big private firms such as Alstom, Rolls Royce and Siemens.

The sector will have to rely on a range of funds being made available through the Department of Energy and Climate Change (£20 million), the Scottish Government’s Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (£18m) and the Technology Strategy Board (£10.5m).

It also has high hopes for the Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund, made up from the £100m disbursement from the Fossil Fuel Levy that the Scottish Government wrangled from the Treasury last year. The other half of the levy was used to fund the foundation of the GIB.

The GIB, on the other hand, has £3 billion burning a hole in its pocket that has to be spent by April 2015.

Lord Smith says there is huge interest in the innovative developments taking place in wave and tidal energy, but despite his enthusiasm the entire sector still has its sceptics.

The GIB is taxpayer funded and while some will want it to take risks it has first to prove to the markets that it can deliver a return on its investment.

Scottish Enterprise has a map of offshore power investments in Scotland (including wind power as well as ocean energy - Examples of recent announcements of intended investments in offshore renewables.

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