Atlantis installed one 1000kW tidal energy conversion device (AK-1000), at the Fall of Warness tidal energy test site at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in 2011. The device was due to be operational in August 2010; however, due to technical problems the site was delayed until August 2011.
The AK-1000 device operated with two sets of blades fitted on a single unit, which was designed to tackle reflux and flood tides. The diameter of each blade was 18m, which rotated slowly at a rate of six to eight revolutions a minute, resulting in low environmental impact.
The device was installed at European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) tidal device test area in Fall of Warness, Orkney, UK. Water Depth: 33m. Tidal range: 3m. Tidal speeds up to 3.7 m/s.
As part of the decommissioning plan in 2004, Atlantis Operations Ltd applied for two consultation rounds. The first was sent to 16 DECC (formerly DTI/BERR) specific stakeholders including; The Chamber of Shipping, Historic Scotland, Orkney Fisheries Association and the Orkney Island Council. The second report produced to apply towards specific government departments, including; CEFAS, Marine Scotland, the Crown Estate and The UK Hydrographic Office. The stakeholders had a statutory 30 days to provide consultation Responses.
The AK-1000 tidal turbine was planned to be installed in August 2010 at EMEC’s test sites, Orkney. However, due to construction issues, the installation was delayed until August 2011. After a 12 month period, the Mark 1 nacelle was replaced by a Mark 2 nacelle. The Mark 2 nacelle had identical dimensions as those of the Mark 1 turbine, and was able to maintain a maximum power output of 1MW. Replacement of the turbine nacelle did not require replacement of the Gravity Base Steel Support Structure.
The Mark 2 turbine operated at the EMEC test facility until 2016 when decommissioning commenced.
In 2018, a Marine License was issued under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 for the decommissioning of the Gravity Base Steel Support Structure.
Key Environmental Issues
Baseline studies for the Fall of Warness test site were performed by EMEC and can be found here.
The sites seabed ranges from eroding sub-littoral sandbanks in the east to smooth scoured bedrock ridges and platforms with occasional boulders towards the center of the site. Fall of Warness is not a protected area; however, there are protected sites in close proximity. These include:
- Faray and Holm of Faray SAC – protected for its grey seal populations.
- Sanday SAC – Protected for its harbor seal populations, intertidal mudflats and sandflats, inshore sublittoal rock and subtidal sandbanks.
- Muckle and Little Green Holm SSSI – Nationally important grey seal breeding colony (Around 3% of the national breeding population).
Baseline Assessment: Atlantis Resources Corporation at EMEC
|Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Birds, Marine Mammals, Human Dimensions, Stakeholder Engagement||Noise and vibrations from vessels engine could cause disturbance to wildlife – Presence of international, nationally and locally important species including seals, cetaceans and birds.||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Little known data on the impact of DP vessels in shallow water, but the noise output may be similar to the cumulative noise output of several vessels.||Completed|
|Birds, Marine Mammals, Human Dimensions, Stakeholder Engagement||Wildlife disturbance due to vessel presence and use of DP system – Presence of international, national, and locally important species including seals, cetaceans and birds.||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Over a vessel present for 1 day with regular use of thrusters to maintain position.||Completed|
|Physical Environment, Human Dimensions, Stakeholder Engagement||Atmosphere emissions study.||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Winds in Orkney average force 3, and in winter force 6. Atmospheric emissions are rapidly depressed naturally.||Completed|
|Physical Environment, Human Dimensions, Stakeholder Engagement||Atmosphere Emissions. Assessment of major ecological impacts ||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Degradation to the quality or availability of habitats and/or wildlife with recovery taking more than 2 years.||Completed|
|Physical Environment, Human Dimensions, Stakeholder Engagement||Assessment of moderate ecological impacts. ||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Change in habitats or species beyond natural variability with recovery potentially within 2 years.||Completed|
|Physical Environment, Human Dimensions, Stakeholder Engagement||Assessment of minor ecological disturbances.||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Change in habitats or species which can be seen and measured but is at same scale as natural variability.||Completed|
|Physical Environment, Human Dimensions, Stakeholder Engagement||Assessment of negligible effects.||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Change in habitats or species within scope of existing variability and difficult to measure or observe.||Completed|
|Human Dimensions, Fisheries, Stakeholder Engagement||Impact of local fisheries (including diving fishermen).||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Test site boundary/lease area has been reduced based on consultations undertaken with fishermen.||Completed|
|Human Dimensions, Stakeholder Engagement||Loss of ballast blocks.||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Handling equipment used are tested and designed to withstand large loads. Any lessons learned during the installation phase will be implemented as required during decommissioning.||Completed|
|Human Dimensions, Stakeholder Engagement||Waste disposal practices.||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||The nacelle will be disassembled and extensively studied following testing to inform future design improvements. Once investigations are completed all components will be handled in accordance with waste hierarchy with priority on re use and recycling. Any items disposed of will be done so in line with legislative requirements to avoid unnecessary environmental impact.||Completed|
|Human Dimensions, Navigation, Stakeholder Engagement||Hazard to navigation from presence of vessel.||Desk based review. Consultation with statutory and non-statutory stakeholders.||Risk migration/controls determined by the NSRA. The work will be broadcasted by appropriate notices to mariners and navigational warnings. The removal of the nacelle, cable disconnected and GBS removal expected to be a maximum three days of activity. The fall of Warness will still be navigable around the proposed works.||Completed|
Post-Installation Monitoring: Atlantis Resources Corporation at EMEC
|Stressor||Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Avoidance||Marine Mammals||Marine Mammal Observations (MMO).||During the summer period in 2011 Atlantis visited the site with a DP vessel on four separate occasions, where a Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) was employed to observe the site from a vantage point on Eday. For operations in July a second MMO was employed to monitor the immediate vicinity of the vessel during DP operations.||No mammals were spotted during any of the DP operations.||Completed (2011)|