As part of the Horizon 2020 EU InToTidal project, Tocardo Tidal Power (Tocardo) deployed their first phase of the InToTidal project at the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) Fall of Warness tidal test site. The objective of the InToTidal project was to develop and demonstrate the world’s first turn-key floating tidal power plant solution capable of integrating five tidal turbines, termed the Universal Foundation System (UFS). The UFS is a surface-based floating foundation which enables low-cost easy access to the tidal turbines for maintenance purposes, with all installation and service operations undertaken by small readily-available vessels.
Phase one (deployed in May 2017) consisted of a modular BlueTEC floating platform (Temporary Foundation System; TFS) which has a single T2 tidal turbine attached (275kW). This device was sited at Berth 8. Installation and grid-connection of phase one was supported by the EU FORESEA programme.
Phase two was planned to consist of Tocardo’s UFS with five T2 turbines attached. The turbine from the BlueTec floating platform would be transferred to the UFS structure, which would be sited at Berth 6 and the BlueTec platform removed from the test site. The UFS system was never demonstrated due to Tocardo going into administration, however since January 2020 Tocardo is fully owned by HydroWing Ltd. and QED Naval Ltd.
The European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC’s) grid connected tidal device test area in Fall of Warness, Orkney, UK. Water Depth: 33 m. Tidal range: 3 m. Tidal speeds up to 3.7 m/s.
Phase 1 (TFS)
59° 8.771’ N 002° 48.560’ W 59° 8.771’ N 002° 48.125’ W
59° 8.378’ N 002° 48.125’ W 59° 8.378’ N 002° 48.447’ W
59° 8.600’ N 002° 48.503’ W 59° 8.614’ N 002° 48.532’ W
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 Tocardo:
• 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)
Tocardo received consent for the planned deployment from Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team on 09 March 2017 (licence no. 06266/17/1). The relevant licensing documents can be downloaded from here.
In November 2017 it was announced that Tocardo planned to retrieve the TFS from the EMEC site. The TFS would be towed from the Fall of Warness site to Isbister Bay until shore operations were ready for recovery.
The drill rig developed by Leask Marine to fulfil their work packages within the InToTidal project was displayed at the All Energy conference in May 2019.
In January 2020, Tocardo was acquired by QED Naval and HydroWing.
Key Environmental Issues
The site’s 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).
The InToTidal project is situated at EMEC’s Fall of Warness grid-connected tidal test site, for which several baseline studies have been undertaken and are described here.
Electrical connection: For phase one deployment, the existing Orbital Marine Power (formerly ScotRenewables) SR250 electrical cable was connected to the TFS device. Pre- and post-installation ROV surveys were carried out to survey the position of the cable and termination box.