Hydropower

UK Ocean Energy Testing Begins

Testing begins on a prototype tidal energy turbine, the EXIM Tidal turbine, that has the potential to bring Shetland at the forefront of ocean-derived renewable energy. Swedish-owned Seapower Scotland and Lerwick company Delta Marine are carrying out the tests over 10 sites in the Bluemull Sound, the stretch of water between the islands of Yell and Unst.

Shetland, England – September 8, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The data produced by the turbine will provide valuable information for future renewable energy projects in the islands, and the project has attracted ý13,000 (US$20,600) each from Shetland Enterprise and Shetland Islands Council. The company aims to use the testing to refine the prototype with a view to setting up a full-scale manufacturing base for the turbines in Shetland, as well as evaluating the islands’ potential for producing renewable energy. “This is one of the first tidal power projects in Shetland and we are pleased to have been able to support it at this early stage,” David Watson, from Shetland Enterprise said. “It is encouraging that developers are beginning to recognize the islands’ potential for renewable energy. It would seem obvious, but it is only when someone takes the steps to try quantify it, that we are able to see the extent of it. Naturally, we want to encourage as much interest in renewable energy projects for the islands as possible, and the data that Seapower collects over the coming weeks will be hugely important to ensure future development in this sector.” During testing, the prototype turbine will be attached to an anchored ship and the electrical energy that is produced by the strong tidal currents at each site will be measured to determine the best site to locate a full-scale tidal generator station. This full-scale version would be used to generate electricity to the Shetland grid. “The tidal currents in Shetland are among the best to be found and have a very big energy potential,” Inge Pettersson from Seapower said. “Besides this, the wave climate in Shetland is the second best in the world, outstanding for the production of offshore wave energy, using our Floating Wave Power Vessel.”