The installation of a floating tidal turbine brings EU researchers one step closer towards achieving a viable marine-based energy sector.
A scaled down floating tidal turbine has been successfully put to sea off the Orkney Islands in Scotland, an achievement that represents a significant milestone in the development of a viable European marine-based energy sector. This pilot scheme will enable researchers to better understand the maintenance needs of offshore turbines and gain operational experience at sea.
The initiative, made possible through the FP7-funded MARINET project, is the first step towards testing a full-scale prototype – a turbine 42 metres in length and 350 tonnes in weight – which is currently under construction. Deployment of this is scheduled for 2015.
The EU is ploughing significant resources into renewable energy – such as wave energy and tidal-stream converters as well as offshore-wind turbines – in order to reduce the environmental impact of using fossil fuels and to better ensure security of energy supply. Ocean-based energy sources can help answer both of these challenges.
One issue however is that this sector is still largely at the pre-commercial stage. The resources required to properly develop the sector – and the financial risks involved – are significant. The goal of the MARINET project is to bring together partners from across Europe in a coordinated research effort that avoids duplication, speeds up development and supports high-quality research.
The 1:10 scale prototype has been installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)’s Shapinsay Sound test site in the UK (EMEC is one of the MARINET project partners).
For more information: www.heatexchanging.com