Scotrenewables launch new anchoring system on Orkney in readiness for the world’s largest floating tidal turbine

Scotrenewables Tidal Power SR2000 U-boat sized tidal turbine under construction at Harland and Wolff, Belfast
Scotrenewables Tidal Power SR2000 U-boat sized tidal turbine under construction

Scotrenewables Tidal Power has completed deployment of its advanced modular anchoring system at the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney in preparation for the launch of its SR2000 2-MW floating tidal turbine later this year.  

The anchor deployment formed part of a novel tidal anchors project for floating technologies, which was carried out in partnership with McLaughlin & Harvey, SeaRoc and Scotmarine. 

The aim of the project was to develop an innovative low cost anchoring system for floating tidal energy converters, which could be readily installed and decommissioned utilising low cost vessels,  and to demonstrate the anchors on the Scotrenewables SR2000 2MW turbine installation – which is the largest floating tidal turbine in the world.

The project was supported by the Scottish Government’s Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund, which was established to support the development of enabling technology for marine energy arrays and by Invest NI.

Scotrenewables’ philosophy for both its floating tidal turbine and anchors technology has always been to engineer out expensive, highly specialised vessels in preference for lower cost workboat style vessels for all major aspects of installation, maintenance and decommissioning. In so doing we can deliver game changing cost reduction in the levelised cost of energy from tidal energy generation.  

To achieve this, Scotrenewables –  in collaboration with  partners McLaughlin & Harvey and Scotmarine – developed a novel installation methodology where locally cast, modular interlocking anchor blocks, could be transported to the quayside and placed on the sea-bed where they would be  picked up for deployment on site using bespoke, specially designed, remotely operated lifting equipment mounted on readily available work boats.

The pre-cast fibre reinforced concrete anchor modules were manufactured by McLaughlin & Harvey at a casting yard specifically set up within the harbour complex, transported to the quayside at Hatston, Orkney and placed on the sea-bed adjacent to the quayside,  using local heavy lifting engineers Heddle Construction.

Scotmarine’s MV Orcadia II workboat
Scotmarine’s MV Orcadia II workboat

From there, anchor modules, each weighing more than  64 tonnes, were transported to the EMEC tidal test site, some 20 miles, away by Scotmarine’s MV Orcadia II workboat with the use of the bespoke deployment frame. The process was refined such that multiples of modules could be safely deployed in a single working day.

The system, approach, installation and decommissioning procedures were developed from initial concept through to full-scale demonstration and deployment over the course of the two-year project and have proven highly successful, with the last module being installed last week, final tests will come with the SR2000 expected to be connected onsite in the coming months.

Andrew Scott, Chief Executive, Scotrenewables, said: “The floating tidal anchors project has demonstrated how inexpensive gravity anchor materials can be utilised in conjunction with a highly innovative deployment approach towards a low cost anchoring solution for floating tidal installations.

“The entire anchoring system was fabricated within Orkney and installed using a locally based workboat vessel, further illustrating how this approach can make full use of the local supply chain for tidal energy installations.” 

Michael McSherry, McLaughlin & Harvey Marine Renewables Manager, added: “We were thrilled to be involved as a project partner from conception through to delivery of yet another innovative solution to provide foundations in the tidal energy sector.

“Through collaboration with Scotrenewables, Scotmarine and supported by the MRCF and Invest NI and drawing on our experience of over 10 years of working in the offshore renewables market McLaughlin & Harvey with our designers MMI and RPS and our suppliers have been able to deliver a cost effective foundation for the SR2000 tidal turbine – the largest tidal turbine currently being deployed anywhere in the world.”

Scottish Energy News 18 Feb 2016

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