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EMEC study shows cost-saving measures for marine energy developers


Results from an ongoing study have shown the potential for "considerable" cost savings using the capabilities of smaller support vessels in the marine and hydrokinetics sector, according to a release from the European Marine Energy Centre.

The Orkney Vessel Trials project, which is being funded by the Scottish government and conducted by Aquatera Ltd. in conjunction with EMEC, was launched by Minister of Energy Fergus Ewing this past year.

The study is intended to investigate ways of reducing operating costs for the marine and hydrokinetics (MHK) industry, while also demonstrating how a project involving many companies, vessels and people can be executed with high safety standards. The project also seeks to demonstrate that the vessels available in Orkney can carry out complex operations efficiently and cost-effectively.

"IN 2013, we provided funding of US$1.84 million to EMEC to support a project that would assess the capabilities of the local fleet of vessels within the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters, and how these vessels could apply their skills to supporting Scotland's marine renewables industry," Ewing said. "Using local vessels to the best of their capabilities not only creates a great local economic impact, but provides an important service to the development of the industry through constant learning and cost reduction."

EMEC said the project included a set of six performance trials covering workboat positioning and dynamic loading, gantry barge positioning and device deployment, clump weight friction, remote operated vehicle (ROV) operations, responses to man overboard situations in tidal currents and dynamics of buoy submergence.

The first stage of the study took place over the winter, with 20 local organizations and more than 120 people working together on more than 60 vessel operations.

"The results from this first project have been very promising, demonstrating just what can be done with our local fleet, and instigating safety enhancements and cost savings for those in the marine renewables industry," EMEC managing director Neil Kermode said.

Findings from the study have been published and will help developers select fit-for-purpose and cost-effective vessels for future projects, EMEC said.

HydroWorld.com reported in February that EMEC had been awarded a share of the Scottish Government's Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) to further the development of an "integrated site characterization and measurement platform".

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