Study Tour - Tidal Power

The international tidal power industry can benefit from Norwegian subsea technology. Connections were made during our study tour to the Orkney Islands in April.

Published: 10 May 2016
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Study tour participants in front of SME’s PLAT-O tidal platform

The tides around UK has an annual potential of 110 terawatt-hours (TWh) energy production. 22 TWh of these are estimated to be exploitable. In comparison, the total energy production from all Norwegian hydro power plants is 130 TWh per year.

World Leading Test Site

EMEC is located in the Orkneys with seat in Stromness. The organisation is the world-leading player for testing tidal and wave power producing devices. The island group’s location makes it an ideal test site with the North Atlantic Ocean offering heavy waves and strong tidal currents all year around.

EMEC has pre-set test sites that monitor currents, wind, wave heights and other relevant data. The standardised facilities offer a unique opportunity to compare the efficiency of different tidal and wave energy producing devices.

Local Supply Chain

OREF represents the cluster of local businesses serving a variety of services to the renewable industry both locally and worldwide. Services span from diving, ROV-services, logistics, project management and deploying of devices among others.

The local supply chain cluster experience major benefits from the EMEC activity. Our group connected with the businesses Aquatera, Xodus, Leask Marine and Sustainable Marine Energy.

Renewable Master and PhD programmes

The International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) campus in Stromness is part of The Heroit-Watt University. ICIT is dedicated to renewable energy studies. Students from all over the world attend the Master and PhD programmes. Half of the study time is dedicated to research.

ICIT aims to produce high-qualified graduates that can focus on oncoming challenges regarding energy production and consumption and management of marine and coastal resources. The students operate in close collaboration with the renewable industry. Norwegian students with bachelor degree can apply within mid-September every year, also for distance learning studies.

Needs and Challenges

The tidal power industry faces a number of challenges. Beside cost efficiency, the industry sees methods for connecting and securing electric cables as a technical challenge. The nature of flood tides only allow an hour of working time before the current turns. This short window of time has to be well-used to perform installations, service and maintenance on submerged tidal devices.

Is it better to bring devices onshore for the two latter work issues? Or, are more powerful ROVs the best solution? Subsea environmental monitoring is also a demand within both the tidal and wave industry. Close collaboration with the subsea industry could solve many of these needs and challenges.

Knowledge Gained

CEO of GCE Subsea member, Sogn Industri Tomas Eikelid, is developing a tidal power project in Sogn og Fjordane County. He coordinated the student’s participation on this study tour.

– The tour was most interesting and inspiring. UK is a decade or two ahead of Norway on the subject and I have now gained a lot of useful information and knowledge for further work, Eikelid states.

The 12 participating students are all writing their bachelor thesis on tidal power in close collaboration with Sogn Industry. – This trip has widened my horizon, says Øyvind Årdal, student at the Florø branch of Bergen University College. – The introduction to the master programme at ICIT definitely inspired me and made me consider doing a master degree in the Orkney Islands at a later point of time, he adds.

The study tour was organised in collaboration with Sogn Industri and Maritim Forening Sogn og Fjordane with funding from Innovation Norway, VRI, In Fundo and Bergen University College.

Contact Information:

Trond Strømgren

Subsea Innovator
+47 402 98 729
trond.stromgren@gcesubsea.no