European Marine Energy to Test Tidal Power

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The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) site is going to be the place where marine energy farm Aquamarine Power is going to become the first Scottish company to test both wave and tidal technologies. Aquamarine Power has reached an agreement with EMEC to place its tidal stream power device known as Neptune at the test site on the Isle of Eday. Neptune is an Edinburgh-based company.
According to an Aquamarine Power insider, contracts for the agreement have been signed with EMEC although Neptune is still in the final design stage. Neptune has been under development since 2004 and it is predicted to arrive at the test location in 2010. The exact place is the Fall of Warness where the company hopes to develop more prototypes.

Neptune has a capacity of 2.4 MW. One of the most powerful tidal stream devises underdevelopment, it is being designed to produce electricity on a commercial scale. It will soon be competing with other energy sources in the UK, according to the company.

Neptune consists of two horizontal axis tidal turbines mounted upon a single monopole to generate energy from incoming and outgoing tides; this electricity will further be supplied to the grid.

Confirming last week’s signing of the contract with EMEC, a spokeswoman for Aquamarine Power said: “We are delighted to have signed a further contract with EMEC. It’s an exciting and important step towards the deployment and testing of our tidal device.”

When Neptune finally arrives at the EMEC site it will join another tidal power producing device from the company, called Oyster, a hydroelectric wave power converter. Preparations for a full-scale testing of Oyster are already underway at the EMEC Billia Croo site. Oyster’s hydroelectric plant will be connected by drilling three pipelines.

The Aquamarine spokeswoman said: “Through the testing of Oyster, we will learn about installation method and seabed connection. We will verify our tank-testing and learn about survivability, reliability and maintainability of the device which will in turn inform the design of future Oyster arrays.

“Oyster has the potential to be more efficient and environmentally friendly than other systems currently under development. A wave farm of just 10 devices powering one onshore hydroelectric plant could provide enough energy to power around 3,000 homes”.