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EMEC considering adding more wave and tidal test berths

EMEC considering adding more wave and tidal test berths
Orkney's European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is looking to expand after filling its last remaining berth, it said today.

Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is looking to expand after filling its last remaining berth, it said today.

EMEC, founded in 2003 to offer test sites in the sea for wave and tidal energy devices, said it is to start consultations on expanding its facilities due to growing demand.

Emec now has more grid-connected devices at its 14 full-scale wave and tidal testing berths than at any other single site in the world and has become financially self-sustaining.

The move follows Swedish utility Vattenfall’s announcement it is to take a test berth at EMEC’s wave energy test site at Billia Croo, Orkney.

Neil Kermode, managing director at EMEC, said: “It is great to know that our facilities are attractive to the major utility companies, who are demonstrating a real commitment to marine renewables in testing these innovative technologies.

“This should instil further confidence in the value of the marine energy industry for potential investors.”

The centre is now discussing its options with industry stakeholders and authorities and, while these are still at a very early stage, expansion is now a major focus to ensure the centre can continue to deliver to the sector’s increasing needs.

Mr Kermode added: “The initial public investment and years of hard grind to establish EMEC are now really paying off. The influx of developers that has been witnessed over the last couple of years has been astounding, and the signing of the latest berth is a significant milestone for the centre.

“Ultimately, the focus of the expansion will be determined by consultation with stakeholders to assess current and future requirements, but the development of berths suitable for testing small demonstration arrays is a real possibility.

“If the full potential of the industry is to be realised, there is a need to understand how arrays are to be built and operated and, if EMEC can ease the path to commercial deployment for developers, then we will.”

EMEC’s client list now includes developers spanning the globe, including Aquamarine Power, Wello Oy, Seatricity, OpenHydro, Atlantis Resources Corporation, Hammerfest Strøm, Voith Hydro, Tidal Generation Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce), and Orkney-based Scotrenewables.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan and Bluewater Energy Services of the Netherlands also recently announced plans to test devices in EMEC’s tidal test site off the island of Eday.

The centre also operates two nursery test sites where smaller scale devices, or those at an earlier stage in their development, can gain at-sea experience in less challenging conditions than those at the full-scale test sites.

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