A Scotland-based utility has secured government approval to build a 10-MW demonstration marine power farm that will use a novel turbine to harness the kinetic energy of tidal streams. Installation of the 10 units off Scotland’s west coast is scheduled to start in 2013, following prototype testing at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney starting at the end of this year.
The $66-million project will be “a world’s first for an array of tidal power machines,” claims Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables Ltd., Glasgow, which owns the development. The project will be big enough to supply twice the heating demand of residents of nearby Islay Island. ScottishPower says it has a contract to supply energy to the island’s whiskey distillers, too.
The project will use a modified 300-MW HS300 device made by Norway’s Hammerfest Str�m A.S., Hammerfest. A demonstration HS300 unit at Kvalsun, off Norway’s north coast, was linked to the grid in 2004, says a company official. The unit is still operational. “We need to upscale it and test the technology at full scale before a project like Islay,” adds the official. Fife-based Burntisland Fabrication Ltd. will make part of the new HS1000 machine for the Orkney trials.
For ScottishPower, the Islay array will be a proving ground for its planned 95-MW tidal development in Duncansby Head, Orkney. It is among 11 wave and tidal projects in the region leased a year ago by the U.K. government’s Crown Estates, with a potential capacity of 1,600 MW. ScottishPower is owned by Spain’s Ibedrola Renovables S.A., Valencia, which is also a large shareholder of Hammerfest Str�m.