Alstom's utility-scale tidal power device has reached the full nominal power of 1 MW after a series of gradual increases in power. The device is undergoing testing at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, Scotland since January 2013.
The power grid-tied tidal energy turbine has generated more than 10 MWh of electricity, in at-sea operating conditions.
The tidal turbine has been tested in different operational conditions through the ReDAPT1 testing program. The next step of the testing program will be to demonstrate the full range of autonomous running capabilities of the turbine (its ability to efficiently operate independently), continue with the planned maintenance and gather evidence for certification. The endurance and reliability will also be tested into 2014. Tests in pilot tidal energy farms will follow prior to the start of full commercial production.
Alstom’s tidal turbine has a twenty-two meters long nacelle and weighs 150 tons. Its rotor has three pitchable blades and a diameter of 18 meters. The tidal turbine is capable of floating. Buoyancy enables the turbine nacelle to be easily towed to and from the point of operation and attached to its pre-installed foundation.
Avoiding the need for specialist vessels and divers, this particular technical feature minimizes installation and maintenance costs and reduces the timeframe to install or retrieve the turbine. The unit operates fully submerged with no surface piercing part, in a water depth of about 40 meters. The nacelle can rotate around vertical axis to face the incoming tide at an optimal angle, and thus extract the maximum energy potential.