Scottish utility says testing of 1 MW hydrokinetic generating unit complete

ORKNEY, Scotland 6/7/12 (PennWell) -- ScottishPower Renewables has completed its initial testing of a 1-MW underwater turbine in the tidal waters near Orkney, paving the way for a future 10-MW array in the Sound of Islay.

During its test phase at Scotland's European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), ScottishPower Renewables demonstrated that its HS1000 tidal turbine -- developed by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest and partners Iberdola and Hammerfest Energi -- could endure the rigors required for permanent installations.

"The performance of the first HS1000 device has given us great confidence so far," says ScottishPower Renewables Chief Executive Officer Keith Anderson. "Engineers were able to install the device during atrocious weather conditions, and it has been operating to a very high standard ever since. We have already greatly developed our understanding of tidal power generation, and this gives us confidence ahead of implementing larger scale projects."

HydroWorld.com reported that the company had gained approval for its 10-MW tidal array from the Scottish government in March 2011, although the company has not yet announced when work on the array will begin.

"We are still early in the testing program with endurance, availability and reliability being the most imminent factors for asserting a proper basis for developing commercial tidal energy power plants," Andritz Hydro Hammerfest Managing Director Stein Atle Andersen says. "However, we are already well into design engineering for the first power plant."

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