The Scottish Government's award of a share of the Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) supports further development of an integrated site characterisation and measurement platform for high-energy marine environments. The end goal is to help accelerate deployment of commercial-scale wave and tidal stream energy, as it endeavours to reduce costs and risk associated with marine energy array deployment.
“Data and learnings from this project will be important to better understand site characteristics and marine mammal interactions with devices in tidal flows," said Simon Robertson, wave and tidal technology acceleration manager at the Carbon Trust. "These are important considerations for reducing the costs and risks of marine energy and bringing the sector a step closer to commercialisation.”
A variety of parameters will be measured at the EMEC tidal test site, including: current profile, device noise output, device and marine mammal/diving bird interaction, conductivity, turbidity, temperature, density and surface wave height. The project will review the lessons learnt from the initial prototype deployment in 2012, in order to upgrade a seabed "pod" and integrate the supporting data streams to develop a pre-commercial demonstration system. (The pod, which is designed to measure a variety of parameters in tidal flows, is based off the island of Eday, in Orkney. The pod combines onshore and offshore subsea components, including active sonar, acoustic doppler profiler, hydrophones, conductivity/ temperature/ density/ turbidity sensors, marine radar, met station, and a vessel tracking system. )
The data generated from this demonstration will also enable the industry to address some of the current key knowledge gaps related to yield assessment, yield optimisation and more accurate device performance, according to EMEC. Making real time data feeds available to developers will also help them to predict operations and maintenance events that are likely to be required.
As Jennifer Norris, research director at EMEC, explains: “This project brings together a range of cutting-edge and more standard technologies which, for the first time, have been configured together to provide an uninterrupted data set."