The 1MW HS1000 tidal turbine – which has been developed by andritz Hydro Hammerfest – was installed last December and has since been undergoing a range of tests in the fast flowing tidal waters around Orkney. The initial testing period has been very positive with the device achieving full export power.

The test device in Orkney aims to fully prove that the technology can operate efficiently in Scotland’s fast flowing tides, that monitoring and maintenance operations can be honed and to help drive down costs in operations and installation. ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) plan to use this technology as part of the world’s first tidal turbine array in the Sound of Islay. The company’s plans to develop a 10MW tidal array in Islay received planning consent from the Scottish Government in March 2011.

“The performance of the first HS1000 device has given us great confidence so far,” commented Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables. “Engineers were able install the device during atrocious weather conditions, and it has been operating to a very high standard ever since. We have already greatly developed our understanding of tidal power generation, and this gives us confidence ahead of implementing larger scale projects in Islay and the Pentland Firth.”

The HS1000 tidal turbine design is based on a mixture of technology used in traditional onshore wind turbines, subsea oil and gas production and in hydropower plants. A prototype device has been generating electricity in Norway for over six years.

“The 1MW pre-commercial device is an important step in our staged strategy for developing reliable and cost efficient tidal energy converting devices and power plants,” said Stein Atle Andersen, Managing Director of Andritz Hydro Hammerfest. “The tests being carried out so far have confirmed the design basis for the technology and given comfort concerning the device’s capacity.”

Andritz Hydro is the majority shareholder in Andritz Hydro Hammerfest, after increasing its stake in the company earlier this year. Other major shareholders are Spanish utility company Iberdrola and the local Norwegian utility company Hammerfest Energi.