PLAT-O is a submerged taut moored platform, which provides a foundation for tidal turbines. It positions them in the optimum location in the water column for the extraction of energy from the tidal stream.
PLAT-O relies on the buoyancy of the installed structure acting against a taut mooring system. The interaction of these elements produces a stable platform capable of supporting two turbines in normal operating conditions. The platform also has the ability to comply with the tidal stream, current and waves in extreme conditions reducing the loads produced. Since the load is transferred to the seabed in a straight line via the mooring lines, which act in tension, the weight of all system components is easily optimised in comparison to traditional seabed mounted structures. In addition, the turbines can be positioned in the optimum position to balance the loading caused by wave action against the increased power available in the tidal flow with separation from the seabed boundary layer.
The device was installed at European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) tidal device test area in Fall of Warness, Orkney.
The proposed device will be installed at a minimum clearance to surface of 11m within EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal test site. The location of the rock anchors will be in the northwest of the EMEC test site, connecting to EMEC Berth 7.
Rock anchors were installed on site in May 2016 with the device planned for instalment in September 2016.
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has been accredited with the UK Accreditation Service (ISO 17025) since 2005. EMEC has been granted the consents required to install an agreed ‘envelope’ of device types at these sites.
Licences held by EMEC include:
- Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997
- Crown Estate Act 1971
- Food & Environment Protection Act 1985 Part II Deposits in the sea (FEPA)
- Coast Protection Act 1949 (section 34) (CPA)
- Electricity Act 1989 (section 36)
Each developer is required to submit device-specific information to support amendment of these consents to allow installation of their device. This information includes a project summary and details on how the specific device details align with the EMEC environmental description and navigational risk assessment. The following licence applications have been submitted by SME:
- Marine Licence under Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, Part 4 Marine Licensing
- Licence to disturb marine species (EPS licence) under The Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994
- Licence to disturb basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 (W&CA)
Potential disturbance to marine mammals and birds as a result of vessel activity during installation and during O&M procedures, installation of the rock anchors resulting in noise impacts and the potential for collision with marine mammals and birds are considered the key environmental issues for the Project.
Baseline studies for the Fall of Warness test site were performed by EMEC and can be found here.