Magallanes Renovables S.L. is a limited company registered in Spain that started its business activity in 2007 and, since then, has focused its activity on the development of a floating platform and its different systems in order to harness the energy of tidal currents and to convert it into electrical energy.
The company’s “ATIR” concept is a floating energy generation platform that is fitted with two open-bladed counter-rotating rotors, each with a combined generating capacity of up to 1.5 MW. At 45 m in length, the ATIR is composed of three main elements: upper block, vertical block (otherwise known as the mast) and lower block (otherwise known as the nacelle). The upper block is the visible block of the platform, and through which the platform is accessible for maintenance. The upper block accommodates the pumps, transformers, converters, switchgears and electrical panels. The vertical block is mainly a structural element attaching the lower block to the upper block. It is a hollow space through which the communication and low-voltage cables connect the equipment housed in the lower block with the parts of the systems within the upper block. The lower block is devoted to the mechanical system comprising the shafts, ball bearings, gear boxes and generators. Out of the lower block but aligned with the main shaft is the hub with three blades, comprising the rotor. Each rotor blade is approximately 8.5 m in length.
The ATIR is installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Fall of Warness grid-connected tidal test site, berth 1. EMEC’s grid-connected tidal test site is situated in a narrow channel between the Westray Firth and Stronsay Firth, where there is a very strong tidal current with a typical spring flow of up to 4 m/s (8 knots).
EMEC has been granted the consents required to install an agreed ‘envelope’ of device types and activities at the site, holding licences and consents relating to the following legislation:
- Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997
- Marine (Scotland) Act 2010
- 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)
- The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994
- The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
All projects at EMEC require a Marine Licence under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, which is granted by the Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) on behalf of Scottish ministers. Magallanes Renovables was granted its initial Marine Licence in July 2018 for installation, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of the Magallanes ATIR Tidal Energy Device in Berth 1, Fall of Warness.
Magallanes Renovables deployed its prototype floating tidal turbine at EMEC in November 2014, supported by the EU-funded MaRINET (the Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network) project. The 1:10 scale ‘ATIR’ prototype was installed on EMEC’s Shapinsay Sound test site. Magallanes has been developing their concept since 2007, having trialled previous prototypes in test tank and river conditions.
The full-scale ATIR device was built in Vigo, Spain. In 2017 the device was validated in a controlled environment in Vigo, and was then towed to Orkney in September 2018. Following months of careful planning and close working between the project partners, Orkney-based marine service provider Leask Marine successfully executed the deployment of the platform at EMEC’s grid-connected Fall of Warness tidal test site in February 2019. The ATIR was first connected to the grid via EMEC’s subsea cables and onshore substation in March 2019 and generated its first power a short time after. This round of testing of the ATIR has been supported by the Horizon 2020 Fast Track to Innovation Ocean_2G project, and the Interreg OceanDEMO and MaRINET2 projects, part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
As part of its testing programme, the device is occasionally taken off-site for maintenance and to optimise the performance of the ATIR. The ATIR was successfully reinstalled at the Fall of Warness site in April 2021 and again in September 2022 after periods of maintenance.
Key Environmental Issues
The Fall of Warness supports a number of marine mammal and bird species with are either afforded national and international protection or are connected with local designated sites. A number of fish and shellfish species are likely to be present within the site, some of which are of commercial importance or are important prey species. EMEC has developed a site environmental appraisal which assesses the potential environmental impacts of installation, operation and maintenance of devices within a defined project envelope. Testing of Magallanes’ ATIR falls within the assessed project envelope, therefore the following potential impact pathways were identified for the project:
- Disturbance and/or displacement due to the presence and operation of the ATIR and associated vessels;
- Disturbance from the acoustic output from the operational ATIR and vessels associated with installation, maintenance and decommissioning;
- Risk of interaction/collision with the turbines installed on the ATIR;
- Risk of entanglement or entrapment with the mooring system for the ATIR;
- Disturbance from breeding/migratory routes through electromagnetic interference;
- Creation of seabird resting habitat at sea;
- Biofouling and introduction of non-native species; and
- Pollution from accidental discharges.
The following mitigation measures were proposed in the Project Environmental Monitoring Plan (PEMP), submitted in support of the Marine Licence application to MS-LOT:
- Adherence to the Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code (SMWWC).
- Vessel speeds will be reduced to 6 knots when a cetacean is sighted in close proximity to the immediate vessel transit route.
- A steady speed and vessel course will be maintained if a cetacean approaches a vessel involved in marine operations.
- Utmost care will be taken in ensuring groups and mothers and young are not split up by vessels.
- Sudden changes in speed and direction will be avoided to reduce the likelihood of any further disturbance to cetaceans in the vicinity.
- During all vessel activity a minimum approach distance will be complied with when passing designated seal haul-outs.
- Rafts of birds will not be intentionally flushed.
- During seabird breeding season (April to August inclusive), vessel transit corridors will be at least 50m from shore in the vicinity of cliff-nesting seabirds to avoid disturbance.
- If interaction between a cetacean, basking shark or seal with devices occurs then procedures for emergency shutdown and liaison with regulators should take place prior to a re-start or suitable mitigation is agreed.
- Compliance with good practice measures detailed in the ‘Alien invasive species and the oil and gas industry – Guidance for prevention and management’ produced by the IPIECA in 2010, ‘Guidance for minimizing the transfer of invasive aquatic species as biofouling (hull fouling) for recreational craft’ produced by the IMO in 2012 and the ‘Code of Practice on Non-Native Species’ made by Scottish Ministers under section 14C of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
- Local vessels will be used throughout all installation, maintenance and decommissioning operations as far as possible.
- Antifouling paints will be used which comply with the IMO International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships and national legislation.
- When the device is taken to calmer waters for maintenance, biofouling inspections of any surfaces that have potential for biofouling, removal of any biofouling and assessment of the integrity of anti-fouling paint coverage.
- Decommissioning seabed survey will be conducted during decommissioning.
Deployment of the Magallanes ATIR was informed by the detailed baseline characterisation provided within the EMEC Fall of Warness Test Site Environmental Appraisal.
Papers, Reports, Research Studies
- Next evolution in materials and models for ocean energy (NEMMO): The NEMMO project will boost the competitiveness of tidal energy by optimizing tidal turbine blade design and performance. The project aims to create a larger, lighter and more durable composite blade for floating tidal turbines, enabling devices to reach capacities of over 2 MW.
- Second generation technologies in ocean energies (Ocean_2G): The Ocean_2G project aims to test, validate and pre-certify an innovative second generation (2G) 2MW tidal energy platform solution, progressing it towards commercialisation.
- Multi-model investigation of tidal energy converter reliability (MONITOR): The MONITOR project is investigating the reliability of tidal energy converters (TECs) and will work with industry to develop tools to improve device reliability.
Post-Installation Monitoring: Magallanes Renovables ATIR at EMEC
|Stressor||Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Noise||Marine Mammals||Drifting Acoustic Recorder and Tracker (DART) survey – supported by the MaRINET2 project.||An acoustic survey campaign was completed during April and July 2021, using the DART system. A reference site was also surveyed to be used as baseline data, with similar current speeds and bathymetry but no devices present.||Results demonstrated that under low wind conditions and at a drifting speed ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 m/s, the ATIR device was detectable at frequencies between 10 and 100 Hz. A difference was observed in median sound pressure level (SPL) of 20 to 30 dB above ambient noise recorded at the reference site, at the frequency band with a central frequency of 63 Hz.||Completed|