Wave and Tidal Power

Project Elements

ocean waves

Wave and Tidal Power

The EMEC grid-connected tidal test site at the Fall of Warness is situated just west of the island of Eday - lying in a narrow channel between the Westray Firth and Stronsay Firth.  The site was chosen for its high velocity marine currents which reach almost 4m/sec (7.8 knots) at spring tides. As tides flow from the North Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea, they quicken as they are funnelled through Orkney's northern islands.

EMEC offers eight tidal test berths at depths ranging from 12m to 50m in an area 2km across and approximately 4km in length. The 11kv sub-sea cables extend to the middle of the tidal stream from EMEC's substation at Caldale in Eday which houses the main switchgear, backup generator and communications room. The substation controls the supply from each tidal device and connection to the national grid. An adjacent laydown area offers developers the opportunity to use conditioning equipment for converting electricity from the level at which it is generated to grid compliant electricity. In addition to transporting electricity, the cables contain fibre-optics which allow developers to communicate with the devices and transmit monitoring data back to our data centre and office facilities. The adjacent building on site holds the Scottish and Southern Energy transformer where the 11kv is transformed to 33kv. Eday is linked to both Westray and Sanday by subsea cables that form a ring through the Northern Isles and feed into the national grid.

With 14 grid-connected test berths, there have been more marine energy converters deployed at EMEC than at any other single site in the world, with developers attracted from around the globe to prove what is achievable in some of the harshest marine environments.