Around the bleak but beautiful northern isles of Britain, hidden on the seabed off the northern coast of Scotland and Orkney, several power companies are undertaking a world first generating wave and tidal energy by harnessing the turbulent tides and waves.
Around the bleak but beautiful northern isles of Britain, hidden on the seabed off the northern coast of Scotland and Orkney, several power companies are undertaking a world first generating wave and tidal energy by harnessing the turbulent tides and waves. The companies plan to generate enough energy to supply electricity to 750,000 homes by 2020. The Crown Estate, which owns the seabed surrounding the UK has awarded leases around the Pentland Firth and Orkney. Six sites have been allocated for wave energy and for tidal projects. Each is expected to generate around 600 MW. The Pentland Firth and the coastal areas around the Orkney Islands have some of the best marine energy resources in the world. The Pentland Firth has high-speed currents, which can reach more than eight knots (nearly 10 miles per hour), and can last six hours in each direction. It has been estimated that the Orkney Islands could generate 19,000 GWh of renewable energy annually.
The Wave projects will be developed off Costa Head by SEE Renewables Developments and jointly with Aquamarine Power off Brough Head in Orkney. Scottish Power Renewables have the lease for Marwick Head, Orkney. E.ON have sites off West Orkney South and West Orkney Middle South. Pelamis Wave Power has the lease for Armadale in the Pentland Firth off Sutherland.
Marine Current Turbines have leased Brough Ness, Orkney and Scottish Power Renewables will have projects in the Pentland Firth.
The Edinburgh-based company has been developing the Oyster, a hydroelectric wave energy converter. The Oyster is a giant mechanical hinged flap twice the size of a double decker bus, which is attached to the seabed. As passing waves move the flap, pistons deliver high pressure water to an onshore electrical turbine.
The UK division of the German-headquartered company is the second largest electricity generator in the UK and also owns its second biggest power distribution network.
Marine Current Turbines
Bristol-based, the company installed the world’s first offshore tidal turbine near Lynmouth off the coast of Devon in May 2003. MCT plans to have its first phase of more powerful 66 SeaGen tidal turbines deployed during 2017 with the whole scheme operational by 2020. Marine Current Turbines (MCT) is planning to install 66 SeaGen tidal turbines in three phases over a four year period in a site area of 4.3 square kilometres. The Brough Ness tidal array will have a total generating capacity of 99MW – enough power for nearly 100,000 homes.
During 2006, it was the first company to install a tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) in Orkney. The electricity produced is completely renewable since it relies on tides that are created by the gravitational effect of the sun and moon.
Pelamis Wave Power
Edinburgh-based, PWP developed the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter – the world’s first commercial-scale offshore wave energy machine to supply electricity to the grid. It was also the first to be commercially used. These devices are 150 metres (492 ft) long, 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) diameter floating tubes which capture the mechanical action of the waves. Future wave farm projects could involve an arrangement of interlinked 750 kW machines connected to shore by a subsea transmission cable
Scottishpower Renewables Developments
Part of the ScottishPower group, which serves five million homes and businesses in the UK and western US.
SEE Renewables Developments
A subsidiary of SSE, which supplies electricity and gas to more than nine million properties in the UK. SSE sites – including hydroelectric schemes – generate 10.7 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
The Largest Tidal Power Device was unveild by Atlantis Resources in August 2010 the AK-1000 at Invergordon is to be shipped to a European Marine Energy Centre test site off Eday, Orkney.