EMEC has welcomed Spanish tidal energy developer Magallanes Renovables back to its tidal test site at the Fall of Warness in Orkney, Scotland.

The successful reinstallation of Magallanes’ second generation 2 MW tidal platform ‘ATIR’ took place on 19 April 2021.

The Magallanes team worked in collaboration with Orkney-based marine service provider Leask Marine, along with the Orkney Harbour Authority tug Thor, to install the platform in an operation lasting eight hours.

In the coming weeks, the ATIR will be connected to the national electricity grid.

Magallanes Renovables has been developing its tidal technology for over 12 years and tested a scale version of the ATIR at EMEC’s Shapinsay Sound test site in 2014.

The 2 MW ATIR platform was initially launched in 2017 and underwent vigorous tow testing in Vigo, Spain, prior to being installed and connected to the national grid at EMEC in Orkney in 2019. Whilst at EMEC the ATIR completed a structured test programme to optimise the system including validation, generation and operational maintenance tests were carried out.

In order to further optimise the performance of the ATIR, Magallanes transported the platform to the dry dock of Dales Marine in Edinburgh in 2020 for maintenance, supported by GAP, Leask Marine, Briggs Marine and Forth Port. The maintenance was no mean feat, having to position the platform horizontally in the sea by using a system of buoys to fit into the dry dock via the locks. During this positioning operation in Leith, maintenance tasks were carried out to optimise the platform, including antifouling and performance verification, all of which will allow the platform to operate more efficiently.

Alejandro Marques de Magallanes, CEO and Founder, Magallanes Renovables, explained:

“We are very pleased to have demonstrated that it is possible to build, launch, install, operate and maintain a tidal platform, in order to generate energy from tidal currents. We are delighted to again have successfully reinstalled the ATIR at EMEC.

“This is a great achievement for our dedicated team and we are now ready to take the next step to start generating electricity into the national grid in the near future.”

EMEC’s Operations and Technology Director, Jonathan Lindsay, added:

“We are delighted to welcome Magallanes back to EMEC following testing in 2019. Their innovation, hard work and determination to drive forward the development of their tidal technology is admirable and we wish them well in their next phase of testing.

“Here in Orkney we are continuing to drive forward and support the development of marine renewable technology, with more marine energy devices having been tested at the EMEC than at any other location in the world.

“With innovative companies like Magallanes choosing to demonstrate technologies in Scotland, it has led to the development of the world’s most experienced supply chain for marine energy. This successful operation has highlighted the skills of Leask Marine and our Local Harbour Authority tugs.”

Douglas Leask, Managing Director of Leask Marine, oversaw the operations:

“Leask Marine Ltd were delighted to be selected once again to manage the successful installation of Magallanes Renovables’ ATIR tidal platform after her recent upgrade programme. This marks another major milestone in the tidal history story and after months of careful planning and close working between all the project partners Leask Marine were able to successfully execute the install operations, ready to be connected once again to the national grid. Orkney remains the centre of the green energy revolution and we are delighted to continue to demonstrate and develop world leading innovation for this sector.”

Jim Buck, OIC Head of Marine Services, Transportation and Harbour Master, said:

“We are delighted to continue our collaborative working with EMEC and Magallanes Renovables in their ongoing venture to unlock the future of renewable energy. This was the second time our Orkney Towages tugs have been involved in the successful deploy of the device – the first time using the tug Erlend, and last week with Thor of Scapa – one of our two new tugs that joined our fleet last year. Despite the strong tidal conditions in the area, the vessel handled very well allowing the service to continue playing a key role to try and ensure a greener, sustainable future for the benefit of our environment and everything within.”

The testing of the ATIR is funded by the Interreg OceanDEMO and MaRINET2, part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.


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