Isle of Wight tidal energy company re-locate operations base and invests £4.5m in Orkney power project

Some of the Sustainable Marine Energy team and turbine array at Warness, Orkney.
Some of the Sustainable Marine Energy team and turbine array at Warness, Orkney.

Sustainable Marine Energy is to invest £4.5 million to deploy an array of its PLAT-O tidal energy systems at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. 

Sustainable Marine Energy conducted extensive testing of its first PLAT-O prototype in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, during 2014 and 2015.

It has now moved its operational base to Orkney and will be grid-connecting their first system at EMEC over the coming months. 

This deployment will then be followed by a larger, 240kW, platform with Schottel Hydro Instream Turbines (SIT 250), the production of which will commence this summer, also in Scotland.

SME’s existing investors have been joined by the German tidal turbine manufacturer Schottel Hydro with Scottish Enterprise increasing its investment to provide the funding required to take the development of PLAT-O through the next phase, to prove the commercial viability for community scale arrays.

Jason Hayman, Managing Director, Sustainable Marine Energy, said: “We are really excited to be moving forward with our array at EMEC.

“This will show that second-generation tidal energy technology really is commercially viable.

“It is fantastic that Schottel Hydro is supporting us at this stage, and also that they have the confidence in the capability and potential of Scottish supply chain to deliver on this project.

This is a long term commitment for SME and Schottel Hydro and we are rapidly expanding our operations in Orkney, whilst benefitting from the experience of local contractors to drive down the costs of marine operations.”

In addition to the development of PLAT-O, Sustainable Marine Energy is also pioneering the development of drilled rock anchors suitable for tidal sites, the installation of which has been proven at EMEC earlier this year.

The rock anchor system is the first of its kind in the world to be deployed at an energetic tidal site, and will be of benefit to the entire marine energy sector, and wider industry as a whole.

Neil Kermode, Managing Director of EMEC, added: “We expect this first phase of grid-connected demonstration in Orkney will generate a great deal more learning to add to previous real-sea experience at the Isle of Wight, and provide a solid base on which to build out with Schottel Hydro.  The Orkney supply chain is poised and ready to help make that a success.”

Schottel Hydro also includes the British company TidalStream Ltd and the Canadian company Black Rock Tidal Power.


NEIL KERMODE is one of many prominent speakers at SCOTLAND’S RENEWABLE FUTURE conference, 26 May 2016.

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