New tidal energy device heading to Orkney New tidal energy device heading to Orkney

New tidal energy device heading to Orkney

A new tidal energy device, designed and built in Spain, is en-route to Orkney waters to undergo a rigorous testing regime with the European Marine Energy Centre.

The latest marine energy device earmarked for testing in Orkney's waters has left its home port in Spain to head for the islands.

The ATIR tidal turbine, from Spanish energy developers Magallanes Renovables, is being towed from the north-western city of Vigo to Kirkwall where it's expected to arrive in mid-September. It will then be taken to the European Marine Energy Centre's (EMEC) grid-connected tidal test site at the Fall of Warness off Eday.

The ATIR leaving Vigo at sunset en-route to Orkney - image by Magallanes Renovables


The 45-metre-long device features a 25-metre draft which support two large rotors. The platform is anchored to the seabed by mooring lines, with the yellow and red steel tidal platform floating on the surface. It's not the first time the company has made use of Orkney's renewable energy expertise - Magallanes also took part in smaller scale tests with EMEC in 2014.

This full-scale version will be installed at the Fall of Warness by local marine contractor Leask Marine. The test site can provide tides of up to four metres per second and it's hoped the ATIR will be able to slowly build up its power output to 2MW during its time in Orkney, helping get it ready for market.

Leask Marine has been part of this project since 2015 - image by Colin Keldie


The project is part of the OCEAN_2G project, which aims to test, validate and pre-certify the second generation platform from Magallanes. The project is led by SAGRES, Magallanes Renovables’ parent company, and includes EMEC, Leask Marine and electrical specialists IM FutuRe.

The device is expected to arrive in Orkney in mid-September - image by Magallanes Renovables


Funding for the project comes from the Fast Track to Innovation pilot scheme, part of the EU’s Horizon2020 research and innovation programme.


The Digital Orkney project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014-2020 Programme.