Annex IV distributes metadata forms (questionnaires) to solicit information from developers involved in environmental monitoring around marine renewable energy project sites around the world. This page provides project descriptions, baseline assessment, post-installation monitoring, and links to available data and reports. Content is updated on an annual basis.

PLAT-O at EMEC

Project Site Annex IV

Title: PLAT-O at EMEC
Country:
Technology Type:
Info Updated:
August 29, 2016
Wet Test of PLAT-O in Orkney
Project Status: 
Planned project
Technology: 
PLAT-O#1 taut-moored submerged tidal platform which hosts two Schottel turbines each with a capacity of 50kW
Project Scale: 
Prototype
Installed Capacity: 
100 kW
Description: 

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.

Location: 

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.

Process Status: 

Rock anchors were installed on site in May 2016 with the device planned for instalment in September 2016.

Licensing Information: 

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)
Key Environmental Issues: 

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.

PLAT-O at EMEC is located in United Kingdom.

Baseline Assessment: PLAT-O at EMEC

General Description:

A review of the EMEC Fall of Warness Test Site Environmental Appraisal identified a number of potential residual impacts that are considered relevant to the PLAT-O#1 deployment

ReceptorStudy Description Design and Methods Results Status
  • Physical Environment

Potential for changes to hydrodynamics and physical processes

Desk based study

No important impacts of relevance to hydrodynamics or physical processes are expected from developments at Fall of Warness.

Completed
  • Benthos

Introduction of marine non-native species (via vessels, devices or other equipment)

Desk based study

Local vessels will be used therefore there is no potential for introduction of NNS via vessels.  The PLAT-O#1 device has previously only been deployed in UK waters in the Solent, Isle of Wight.  The risk of introduction of MNNS is considered to be very low and no significant impacts are expected as a result of the proposals.  PLAT-O#1 will be transported to Orkney for deployment by road.

Completed
  • Fish and Fisheries

Introduction of marine non-native species (via vessels, devices or other equipment): Benthic fish and shellfish

Desk based study

Local vessels will be used therefore there is no potential for introduction of NNS via vessels.  The PLAT-O#1 device has previously only been deployed in UK waters in the Solent, Isle of Wight.  The risk of introduction of MNNS is considered to be very low and no significant impacts are expected as a result of the proposals.  PLAT-O#1 will be transported to Orkney for deployment by road.

Completed
  • Fish

Electromagnetic field (EMF) effects on Diadromous fish, gadoids and elasmobranchs

Desk based study

Electromagnetic field (EMF) effects

Completed
  • Large Vertebrates

Potential impacts on marine mammals and basking sharks as a result of support vessel activity, e.g. noise and physical presence

Desk based study

Installation of the anchors and PLAT-O#1 will be completed using a standard multi-cat work vessel assisted by a RIB.  Installation activities will be completed in a relatively short timescale. No significant effects on any sensitive species are expected from this low level of vessel activity. 

Completed
  • Large Vertebrates

Underwater noise from foundation / mooring installation methods (drilling activities) leading to disturbance or auditory injury

Desk based study and results from previous deployments

The drilling operation will be completed in a relatively short timescale (estimated to be two days).  Due to the small scale nature of the works proposed and the timescales involved, no significant effects are expected from the installation of the rock anchors. SME's proposed drilling operations are small in scale and will be undertaken from a standard workboat.  It is not therefore proposed to implement a mitigation zone or use MMOs during installation. SME has also undertaken acoustic monitoring during the anchor installation at their deployment site in Yarmouth; the results of which will be provided when available.

Completed
  • Large Vertebrates

Underwater noise from turbine operation leading to disturbance

Desk based study and results from previous deployments

No significant effects are expected to result from underwater noise produced by the operation of a single tidal turbine. The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) will measure underwater noise levels of the operating PLAT-O#1 at the Yarmouth test site.  Results from this study will be provided to Marine Scotland upon completion.

Completed
  • Large Vertebrates

Entanglement in mooring lines or cables leading to injury or death

Desk based study

A study commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) concluded that moorings associated with marine renewable energy devices are unlikely to pose a major threat in terms of entanglement risk to cetaceans and basking sharks due to the size and mass of the moorings. However, there is a greater risk for baleen whales (Such as the fin whale or humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae) due to their large size and foraging habits (Benjamins et al. 2014). Taut mooring systems present the lowest relative risk to large cetaceans and basking sharks. The proposed mooring lines will always be taut except when being connected and disconnected with a vessel on site.

Completed
  • Large Vertebrates

Presence of tidal device and associated infrastructure leading to barrier effects

Desk based study

The presence of a single device within the Fall of Warness test site is not expected to result in any significant barrier effects for marine mammals or basking sharks. 

Completed
  • Birds

Potential impacts on marine birds (seaducks, divers) as a result of support vessel activity, e.g. noise and physical presence

Desk based study

Installation of the anchors and PLAT-O#1 will be completed using a standard multi-cat work vessel assisted by a RIB.  Installation activities will be completed in a relatively short timescale. No significant effects on any sensitive species are expected from this low level of vessel activity. 

Completed
Reports and Papers N/A
Research N/A

Post-Installation Monitoring: PLAT-O at EMEC

ReceptorMonitoring Program Description Design and Methods Results Status
  • Fish and Fisheries

Measure the effect the device has with respect to habitat creation and fish aggregation

Video cameras will be installed on PLAT-O#1 device. Full details of the cameras, data analysis and reporting will be agreed with SNH and approved by MS-LOT prior to commissioning of the device.

TBC

Planned
  • Large Vertebrates

Determine collision events with marine mammals and basking sharks

Video cameras will be installed on PLAT-O#1 device. Full details of the cameras, data analysis and reporting will be agreed with SNH and approved by MS-LOT prior to commissioning of the device.

TBC

Planned
  • Birds

Determine collision events with marine birds

Video cameras will be installed on PLAT-O#1 device. Full details of the cameras, data analysis and reporting will be agreed with SNH and approved by MS-LOT prior to commissioning of the device.

TBC

Planned
Reports and Papers N/A
Research N/A
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