Lessons learnt at sea captured

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A wealth of knowledge gathered from the testing of wave energy devices in Orkney will underpin the future development of the industry.

Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has released the findings of a project with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), which set out to capture the experience amassed by the Orkney supply chain from the testing of devices at sea.

The results will help developers check the readiness of wave energy converters for deployment - by taking open-water testing into consideration at an early stage in the design process.

The importance of budgeting for regulatory issues, the need for appropriate lifting points on a device, and the ability to reduce forecasting uncertainties through a process of refining and improving marine operations, are just some examples of the arising lessons-learnt.

Five reports comprise the suite of documents produced. An overview report introduces the project approach, the participants, and summarises the findings, with a further four detailed guidance documents focusing on compliance, handling, installation, and operations and maintenance.

These documents draw on the expertise and learning gained through frontline experience in real sea conditions within Orkney’s well-established marine renewables supply chain.

Nine companies - Aquatera, Bryan J Rendall Electrical, EMEC, Green Marine, Leask Marine, Orcades Marine, Scotmarine, Sula Diving and the Xodus Group - took part in a series of workshops to gather their collective knowledge, and generate the guidance documents as a reference point for developers.

The companies have over 500,000 hours of marine renewables operations experience between them. The reports were reviewed by Offshore Subsea Consultancy Services to ensure operational accuracy.

“Information of this kind will be invaluable to wave energy converter developers in the WES programme,” said Tim Hurst, managing director of Wave Energy Scotland.

“We’re delighted to capture the accrued knowledge from an experienced marine renewables industry and EMEC are well placed to add their considerable wisdom to this invaluable guidance.

“The study will help our programme participants to make informed decisions at earlier stages of their device development. Ultimately, this will help avoid costly errors at the deployment stage.”

Elaine Buck, EMEC’s technical manager, added: “To date, EMEC’s test sites have played host to 19 developers and more than 100 wider research projects.

“Orkney’s supply chain companies have been instrumental in those activities, and we have drawn upon all that experience in this project.

“The input we’ve gathered is unprejudiced in drawing together both the positive and negative lessons learnt, and covers a depth of expertise captured within each of the participating companies.

“By cataloguing some of this learning we hope the next developers on site can de-risk and accelerate their plans, as well as achieve cost reduction, armed with guidance based on hard-won experience.”

The reports are available on request from Matthew Holland at WES – email: wes@hient.co.uk.

Wave Energy Scotland – fully funded by the Scottish Government – is taking an innovative approach to the development of wave technology. WES will support development until the technical and commercial risks are low enough for private investment to re-enter the sector.

Contact Information

c/o Maureen Shearer, Development Manager, HIE, 14 Queen Street, Kirkwall
KW15 1JE Scotland

T: 01856888710

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