Pier pressure ... as islands gear up for wave and tidal
The former wartime naval base at Lyness on the island of Hoy is being transformed into a centre for the maintenance and assembly of wave and tidal devices, with a £3 million redevelopment due to begin in June.
Orkney Islands Council is also developing plans for a substantial extension to the pier at Hatston near Kirkwall, which is well placed to serve developers using the Fall of Warness tidal test site operated by EMEC, the European Marine Energy Centre.
An expansion of harbour facilities is also proposed for Stromness, close to EMEC’s wave test site at Billia Croo to the west of Orkney Mainland.
“Gearing up for a big increase in marine renewables activity is a key priority,” said Michael Morrison, business development manager with the council’s Marine Services department.
“We have a network of 29 piers and harbours and we’re looking long term at how these key locations can underpin the development of this emerging industry.”
The first phase of the Lyness redevelopment involves the refurbishment of 265 metres of the harbour’s quay, the creation of 4000 square metres of quayside hard standing, and upgrading power, lighting and water supplies.
“The result will be a dedicated area where developers can carry out assembly and maintenance work on their machines,” said Mr Morrison. “As a deepwater harbour in Scapa Flow, Lyness is ideally placed and there’s considerable interest from developers in using the facilities.”
Forty per cent of the funding is being provided by the European ERDF fund, with further phases to be planned as the industry develops, both at EMEC and at the commercial sites identified in the Crown Estate’s leasing round for Orkney waters and the Pentland Firth.
“Every wave and tidal device is different in shape, draft and in its support requirements,” added Mr Morrision. “Our aim is to work closely with developers in providing facilities that meet their specific needs.”
The proposals for Hatston involve extending the 225-metre pier by a further 150 metres, with the council looking at providing an extra 100 metres of quayside berthing space in Stromness.
Orkney’s port information systems are also set for a boost, with an upgrade planned for the VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) software and equipment used at Marine Service’s base at Scapa.
In future, extra radar sites could be used to expand VTS coverage and ensure Orkney is well equipped to support growing marine renewable activity in the years ahead.