A 1 MW tidal stream turbine installed off the Orkney Islands in Scotland at the European Marine Energy Centre surpassed 1 GWh of electricity generated earlier this month, going a long way to proving that tidal energy, if not all marine energy sources, is worth the trouble.
The site’s developer, Alstom, announced the milestone on its website, stating that it “marks a crucial step in the development of Alstom’s tidal power technology, and clearly demonstrates its performance and endurance, as well as its autonomous operation.”
The 1 MW tidal stream turbine was installed and connected by Alstom at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) as part of the ReDAPT Project.
“Reaching this milestone has demonstrated the experience acquired during the trials performed in Scotland and positions Alstom as a pioneer in tidal power development,” said Jacques Jamart, Alstom Senior Vice-President in charge of New Energies. “By proving our ability in this way to produce electricity over the long term and in significant amounts, we are contributing to establishing the credibility which is vital to the emergence of the tidal power sector.”
Earlier this month, Bloomberg New Energy Finance Chief Editor Angus McCrone asked whether tidal and wave energy were worth the trouble they seem to be causing. But the reality is, the only troublesome technology is wave energy — as it continues to provide lacklustre results and seemingly neverending technological challenges.
“This is the capitalist survival-of-the-fittest process working as normal in any new market area,” McCrone said. “It also reflects the fact that venture capital investors have become much more realistic about the difficulties involved in proving a new power technology in the harsh environment of the sea.”
The strength of tidal energy projects such as Alstom’s Orkney Islands project has helped drive the development of Alstom’s new 1.4 MW turbine, the Oceade™, which was just chosen to be a part of the recently announced project being developed by a consortium made up of GDF Suez and Alstom in France, at the Raz Blanchard location.
At the same time as the Alstom/GDF Suez announcement, the French Government also awarded another consortium approval to move ahead with their own tidal energy project at the same location.