SCOTLAND’S first grid-connected, commercial-scale tidal turbine has been installed off Orkney.
Marine energy developer Atlantis Resources connected its 1MW AR1000 tidal turbine to the grid at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).
The connection was seen as a milestone in the development of the marine energy industry, which has been gaining momentum, especially at EMEC, where 12 test berths are due to be at capacity by 2012.
Atlantis says its AR1000 is the world’s most powerful single-rotor tidal turbine, and is rated to produce 1MW of predictable power.
It has an 18m rotor diameter and is one of the largest turbines ever built, standing 22.5m high and weighing 1,500 tonnes, said Atlantis.
However, the development has not been without its problems, but these have been addressed, said Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Atlantis.
“I am very proud of the team at Atlantis,” he said.
“They have overcome a number of considerable challenges in this development programme, fine-tuning the nacelle retrieval process at the same time.
“Following a blade manufacturing fault in 2010, we switched suppliers and reverted to standard GRP blades. We also reviewed the entire tidal power component supply chain in conjunction with our customers, and opted to focus on a turbine design that employs only proven and readily accessible components, and can therefore be manufactured at scale.”
Investment and research in the firm’s earlier two-rotor AK1000 is due to continue, but will be reliant on a stronger supply chain.
A full commissioning programme of the AR1000 is now underway at EMEC and is expected to take three months.
The three-bladed turbine will be tested over the next two years, ahead of commercial system roll-out into the MeyGen project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth.