When the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) was established by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and its funding partners in 2003, it was with the intention of stimulating and accelerating the development of both wave and tidal prototype energy generating devices. The wave test centre is now well established, and the next phase is to establish a consented tidal test site ready for future deployment of the novel tidal energy devices that are currently being designed and built by independent developers. The proposed test facilities will allow full scale generating devices to be tested under normal operating conditions and allow the generating capacity and performance to be independently verified.
As part of the on-going Prime Contracting Framework Agreement, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has engaged Tulloch Prime Contracting Limited (Tulloch) to undertake the design and construction of the proposed tidal test facility to be located within the Fall of Warness, Eday, Orkney. AURORA Environmental Ltd (AURORA) has been contracted by Tulloch to undertake the environmental works for the construction phase of the tidal test facility, including a number of baseline studies and the production of an Environmental Statement (ES) to support consent applications. The scope of the Environmental Statement covers the construction and presence of the test site, but does not cover the installation and testing of individual prototype devices. In order to be able to assess the impacts of the long-term presence and operation of the site, it will be necessary to consider a range of likely potential devices at a generic level. However, detailed consideration of individual devices will be the responsibility of each developer making use of the site. It is the responsibility of each developer to provide an Environmental Statement to EMEC, produced according to the EMEC guidance.
The establishment of a test centre for assessing the performance of new and developing tidal energy technology is a strategically important facility for Scotland and the UK. It is believed that tidal energy could make an important contribution to securing future UK energy supplies and that this in turn will contribute to reducing CO2 emissions arising from energy production.