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14 July 2015
Largest and most powerful tidal turbine in the world set to launch in Scotland

Largest and most powerful tidal turbine in the world set to launch in Scotland

It may have taken more than 12 years of painstaking research, design and testing, but later this year Scotrenewables Tidal Power looks set to launch the largest and most powerful tidal turbine in the world.

Eight times larger than their prototype previously tested at the European Marine Energy Centre, this 2MW device, which is 64 metres long, will return to Orkney once final assembly work finishes in Belfast.

The process is far from complete, though. A further two to four-year testing programme is to follow before being deployed commercially.

“It varies, I suppose, quite significantly from the approach to tidal energy generation that some of our competitors take in that it is a floating device rather than a seabed mounted device,” says business development manager, James Murray.

“The vast majority of the sub components, device components, situate within the hull of the device to allow for easy low cost access for maintenance.”

The SR2000, as it is known, incorporates components from the wind, gas and oil industries, with the turbine capable of being installed in water depths of over 25 metres due to a flexible mooring system.

Rotors some 16 metres in diameter and the power take off systems have been optimised for fast tidal current regions, such as Scotland, northern France and Canada, though the design can be tailored to local conditions. It has been designed in such a way that all installation, operation and maintenance can be carried out by locally based vessels.

Support for the first arrays is positive, according to Murray, with a guaranteed strike price – the amount paid for the electricity produced – of £305 per MW hour for wave and tidal projects through till 2019. Consistent commitment from policymakers and foresight of support that will be in place is essential.

“That helps our investors, ourselves and everyone to have confidence that there will be sufficient support until the technology can be brought down to be cost effective and fully commercial versus other types of renewable energy technologies,” adds Murray.

For Scotrenewables Tidal Power, theirs is a story of undeniable progress. For Scotland, it’s perhaps a further reminder of what still remains unfinished.

“The main challenge going forward for the expansion of the industry is essentially there being available grid capacity for when the technologies are fully mature and are looking to deploy a number… That’s a major challenge for Scotland in the years ahead.” 

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