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Swedish company to test ‘underwater kite' tidal generator

Swedish tidal energy group Minesto has raised more than 2 million euros (US$2.5 million) of new capital to fund testing of its Deep Green tidal generation technology off the coast of Northern Ireland.

Deep Green is an "underwater kite" consisting of a 12-meter wing assembly, turbine, generator, and rudder, which is anchored to the sea bed by a tether. According to Minesto, it has the potential to operate cost-effectively in deep waters where flow velocities are lower than could be harvested by other tidal systems.

The 500-kW Deep Green units require no gearbox and offer assembly and maintenance cost benefits compared to larger tidal units, the company claims. An automatic steering system optimizes the kite's trajectory to maximize energy conversion.

Minesto, a spin-off from the Saab Group, will begin the Northern Ireland tests in 2011.

Applications open for Scotland's marine energy development prize

Scotland's 10 million pound (US$15 million) Saltire Prize, the Scottish government's challenge to the world to accelerate the commercial development of marine energy, is open for applications.

The Saltire Prize will go to a commercially-viable wave or tidal energy technology that generates at least 100 GW of electricity over two years, the government reported.

The Crown Estate, as owners of the seabed around the United Kingdom, will run a dedicated leasing round in the summer of 2010 specifically aimed at Saltire Prize competitors, the government reported.

Testing is to begin in June 2012 and close in June 2017, with the winner announced the following month.

For contest information and guidelines, visit

MTDS to test new hydrokinetic turbine at Amazon River site

Scotland-based engineering firm MTDS has selected the Amazon River in Brazil as the site for a prototype hydrokinetic turbine designed to produce energy from slow-flowing rivers, regional media reported.

The MTDS turbine uses vertical rotors, like revolving doors. According to the company, because the turbine's blades move at about the same speed as the current, efficiency is maximized and potential effects to marine life are minimized.

A full-scale version of the device will be built for a 12-month demonstration project on the Amazon. The components of the prototype, at nearly 50 tons and nearly 6 meters wide, are to be manufactured in Caithness. The components then will be shipped to Brazil and built and installed by the Scottish team by late 2010.

Crown Estate names winners of ocean development leases

The Crown Estate announced the names of winning bidders for wave and tidal energy farm development leases in United Kingdom waters. These winning bidders are part of the world's first commercial wave and tidal leasing round.

Winners gained access to ten sites in Scotland's Pentland Firth and Orkney waters. The developers signed agreements for lease with the estate to take forward development of their installations, allowing them to enter the statutory consenting process with security of access to the seabed.

Developers who signed agreements for wave energy leases are:

— Aquamarine Power Ltd. and SSE Renewables Developments Ltd., 200 MW for Brough Head;

— E.ON, 50 MW for West Orkney South;

— E.ON, 50 MW for West Orkney Middle South;

— Pelamis Wave Power Ltd, 50 MW for Armadale;

— Scottish Power Renewables UK Ltd., 50 MW for Marwick Head; and

— SSE Renewables Developments Ltd, 200 MW for Costa Head.

Developers who signed agreements for tidal energy leases are:

— Marine Current Turbines Ltd., 100 MW for Brough Ness;

— Scottish Power Renewables UK Ltd., 100 MW for Ness of Duncansby;

— SSE Renewables Developments (UK) Ltd., 200 MW for Westray South; and

— SSE Renewables Holdings (UK) Ltd. and OpenHydro Site Development Ltd., 200 MW for Cantick Head.

EMEC expanding workforce, adding test sites

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), a test center for wave and tidal energy technologies, is expanding its workforce to meet the growing demands of companies developing devices that harness energy from the sea. In addition, the center is expanding to attract international businesses with smaller prototypes at earlier development stages, EMEC reported.

EMEC, based in Orkney, Scotland, is gearing up for the arrival of more devices capable of generating electricity from waves or tidal currents, a Scottish government economic development agency reported. EMEC operates the world's first open-sea, grid-connected test facilities for wave and tidal energy technologies.

With machines from Ireland's OpenHydro and Scotland's Aquamarine Power and Pelamis Wave Power already undergoing sea trials at EMEC, five new staff are to be recruited to join the current 13-person team, according to a report from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a Scottish Government economic and community development agency.

EMEC adds "nursery sites"

EMEC has identified "nursery sites" in the islands to plug the vital gap between test tanks and full ocean conditions for unproven energy devices.

"These scale test sites will be supported by moorings, data collection and other services complementary to our full scale test areas, along with ‘load dump' capabilities, as their power output will not go to the grid," says Neil Kermode, EMEC managing director.

The four new berths — two each for wave and tidal — are planned to be available in 2011. Two general areas have been earmarked for further exploration — within the northeast corner of Scapa Flow for wave, and in the Shapinsay Sound for tidal. The berths are being developed with funding from the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

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