Voith's portfolio spans renewable energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport. With over 40,000 employees and locations in over 50 countries of the world, it is one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe. Voith Hydro is a subsidiary of the Voith Group, and is a leading supplier of hydropower equipment and services, having manufactured around a third of all hydroelectric turbines and generators.
Voith's 1MW horizontal axis turbine HyTide 1000 has a rotor diameter of 13m and weighs 200 tonnes. Preparatory works commenced in summer 2011 with a 23m monopile installed in the seabed at EMEC’s tidal test site at the Fall of Warness off the northern island of Eday. The turbine was installed in September 2013 and subsequently removed in February 2015.
The device was installed at European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) tidal device test area in Fall of Warness, Orkney, UK.
South Seal Skerry (West Coast of Eday) Orkney. Water Depth: 33m. Tidal range: 3m. Tidal speeds up to 3.7 m/s.
Voith received consent for the planned deployment from Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team on 03 July 2013. The relevant licensing documents can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Licensing/marine/scoping/EMEC/fwb7
The Voith HyTide turbine was removed in February 2015 after around a year of operation in which multiple lessons on technical and environmental considerations were learnt.
Since Hytide’s removal Voith have not attempted to progress the tidal stream arm of the business, stating that technologies developed for marine could now be used in river systems and for installations in existing locks and dams.
In 2016 Voith assets in the form of a monopole and scientific monitoring equipment were transferred to SME to support deployment of their PLAT-O#1 device, also at EMEC.
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).