Scotland’s Wave Energy Devices Ready for Testing

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) officially ratified the test facilities at the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) in Orkney, enabling renewable energy developers to gain an internationally recognized verification of the performance of their wave energy devices using EMEC’s hi-tech facilities.

“The UKAS accreditation for EMEC’s unique testing facilities is a milestone that reflects the hard work that their staff have put into this project,” said John Hurll, the UKAS assessment manager responsible for the EMEC accreditation. The EMEC was established by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and funding partners to stimulate and accelerate the development of marine power devices, initially through the operation of a testing center in Orkney. The Center’s facilities include four test berths situated along the 50-meter water depth contour off Billia Croo on the Orkney mainland (some 2 km offshore). Armored cables link each berth to a substation onshore. These link to an 11 kV transmission cable connecting to the national grid and to a data/communications center located in nearby Stromness. “Our role is to show how much power the machines produce in a wide variety of sea and weather conditions,” said Neil Kermode, EMEC’s managing director, “everything from a flat calm to a force 10 storm.” “This is the first center of its kind anywhere in the world to win this mark of quality and sends out a clear signal to the renewables industry that Scotland is the place to go for full testing and independent verification of wave energy equipment,” said Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen. “UKAS accreditation is a major boost, not just for the Marine Energy Center, but for the whole of Scotland as we develop our position as an international center of excellence in the development of marine energy.” After EMEC was established by becoming operational in 2003 at an overall cost of GBP5.65 million (approx. USD$10 million), a new investment of GBP6 million (approx. USD$10.6 million) is being made in EMEC’s new tidal energy test center, due to open next year on the island of Eday.

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