A tidal energy project has smashed previous records for power generation over a 12 month period.
The tidal stream device has been in continuous operation off the choppy waters of Scotland’s north-east coast, around the Orkney Islands. During that time it has generated 3 gigawatt hours of electricity, enough to meet the annual demand of 830 UK households, or 25 per cent of demand on the islands.
Scotrenewables Tidal Power, the company developing the prototype, claim the achievement could be a turning point for technology. Another tidal device near Orkney, called MeyGen, is the largest of its kind in the world after reaching completion earlier this year.
The company states that the amount of power produced by the SR2000 is greater than the entire wave and tidal energy sector in Scotland in the 12 months prior to its launch.
Andrew Scott, Chief Executive Officer of Scotrenewables Tidal Power said: “The SR2000’s phenomenal performance has set a new benchmark for the tidal industry. Despite being an R&D project, and it being our first full scale turbine, its first year of testing has delivered a performance level approaching that of widely deployed mature renewable technologies”.
The device has been easy to access for routine maintenance over the past year, which has kept outage times to a minimum. Operating costs have also been reduced through the use of small, lightweight support vessels.
Scotrenewables is moving forward with the next phase of the project, building a new 2 megawatt commercial unit later this year. The device is being supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 scheme.
A recent report from research body ORE Catapult concluded that tidal stream could provide major economic benefits to the UK. With appropriate support, the technology could contribute 1.4 billion to the economy and create 4,000 jobs.