Sustainable Marine Energy’s PLAT-I tidal energy platform, hosting four Schottel Hydro SIT 250 turbines, has successfully completed the first phase of its testing program at Connel, on the West coast of Scotland. The Company is now preparing to ship the platform to Nova Scotia and install it for a second phase of testing.
Courtesy of Sustainable Marine Energy
Having proven the installation, operation and performance aspects of the platform, this second phase of testing will concentrate on proving performance in the harsher climate of Canada while also conducting environmental monitoring, with the aim of assessing interactions of marine life with the platform.Black Rock Tidal Power has applied to the Nova Scotia Department of Energy for permission to install the platform at Grand Passage in the Bay of Fundy, for a minimum trial period of three months and, as part of that process, is currently engaging with stakeholders in the local area.
Jason Hayman, Managing Director of SME, commented “PLAT-I is graduating from Scotland to Canada, which is an important start to the export story for the Scottish marine energy industry. It also represents a change of gear for Sustainable Marine Energy. We started as an R&D company and are rapidly changing into a project delivery company based in Scotland.”
The PLAT-I platform was designed with support from Innovate UK and DFID under the Energy Catalyst program, with the build and testing receiving funding fromScottish Enterprise under the WATERS3 program. The testing program has successfully validated the platform and power generation technologies, with multiple platform motions and loads being measured. All systems performed as expected allowing the key advantages of the PLAT-I system to be proven.
The modular nature of the platform, while making assembly on land simple using small cranes, has also allowed a number of components to be changed during the testing program. With the PLAT-I platform it has been possible to change out blades and work on the Schottel SIT generators in situ, with only small vessels required.
In addition the testing period has allowed collaboration with a number of research projects including SURFTEC, MET-Certified and Tidal Turbine Testing Phase 3 (TTT3). All have deployed instrumentation on or around the platform, monitoring a number parameters and their research will be publicly disseminated when complete.
SME is now teaming up with the Canadian company Black Rock Tidal Power for this important follow on project, which will evaluate the environmental impact and commercial potential of the PLAT-I technology. BRTP is working closely with all of the relevant regulatory bodies in Nova Scotia and Canada to ensure that the Grand Passage deployment will increase scientific understanding of marine animal behavior near the platform and provide a test bed for environmental monitoring systems. The results of the second phase of testing will provide regulators with more information to evaluate future tidal energy projects in the Bay of Fundy.
Hayman concluded,“Canada is an obvious choice for the next stage of PLAT-I and SME’s development because of the abundant resource in and around the Bay of Fundy. The area has fantastic natural resource, all driven by the largest tidal range in the world at up to 14m.”
Currently, the PLAT-I platform is being prepared for shipment to Canada. The platform was towed away from the Connel Bridge site on June 7th by the 15m Meercat workboat “Venetia”. The platform has been broken down into road transportable modules and is expected to be Canada bound on a container ship by mid-July.