Scotland business

Testing to start in Orkney on 'most powerful' tidal turbine

SR2000 Image copyright Colin Keldie/EMEC
Image caption The SR2000 is longer than the Scott Monument

A device which is said to be the world's most powerful tidal turbine is due to begin testing in Orkney.

The SR2000, developed by Scotrenewables Tidal Power, is undergoing final checks before being connected to its mooring system at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) test site.

At 63m in length, it is longer than Edinburgh's Scott Monument.

Its developers say it is capable of generating 2MW of power - enough for about 1,000 homes over a year.

The SR2000 was launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast in May before being towed to Orkney.

During a visit to the test site, Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: "Scotland's capacity to generate tidal power is considerable and this device has the potential to be a real game changer for the industry, not only here in Scotland, but across the world.

Image copyright Scotrenewables Tidal Power
Image caption Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse visited the test site ahead of the start of trials

"Floating technology like this is likely to be easy and cheap to install, maintain and decommission.

"This will increase the commercial viability of tidal energy, which is crucial as we continue to transition towards a low carbon economy."

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "News that the world's most powerful tidal turbine is to begin trials in Orkney underlines the important role Scotland currently plays in the development of marine renewables globally.

"We hope the sea trials are successful and the findings are helpful to the wider industry as it seeks to find cost-effective ways to harness the pollution-free power of our seas."

'Critical phase'

Scotrenewables chief executive Andrew Scott said: "It's obviously a critical phase in the project but we're looking forward to the test programme and providing clear evidence of the significant advantages our technology can bring to the sector whilst offering a step reduction in costs."

The project has been supported by Scottish Enterprise along with investment from Scotrenewables' shareholders, which include ABB, DP Energy, Total and the Scottish government via the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF).

Earlier this week, tidal energy specialist Nova Innovation said it had become the first company in the world to deploy a fully operational tidal array.

It has installed two 100kW turbines so far in the Shetland Tidal Array at Bluemull Sound.

Edinburgh-based Nova said the move could herald a "new era" in tidal energy.

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