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Consent sought to test higher capacity wave devices at EMEC site


By Staff Reporter


EMEC is hoping to gain site-wide consent for up to 20MW of generation capacity at its Billia Croo site. Picture: Colin Keldie/EMEC
EMEC is hoping to gain site-wide consent for up to 20MW of generation capacity at its Billia Croo site. Picture: Colin Keldie/EMEC

A leading marine energy test centre is hoping to streamline the process to test larger capacity devices at one of its sites.

Billia Croo is a grid-connected wave test site off the west coast of Orkney, where wave energy devices are tested in real sea conditions.

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is now applying for site-wide Section 36 consent the site to help reduce time and costs associated with offshore demonstration.

EMEC’s Section 36 consent application is currently out for consultation, and feedback is invited from stakeholders.

Section 36 consent is required under the Electricity Act 1989 for any developers with a generating capacity of greater than 1MW.

It would give the site permission for installed generating capacity of up to 20MW and would last until 2040, which EMEC says would future-proof the consenting process for its clients.

Caitlin Long, EMEC’s environment and consents specialist, said: “In order for developers to deploy marine renewable devices and generate electricity at sea, it is a regulatory requirement to gain statutory consents and marine licences. At present, any technologies with a generating capacity over 1MW must go through a more arduous consenting process prior to deployment.

“EMEC acquired and implemented a site-wide section 36 consent for our tidal test site at the Fall of Warness in 2016. This enabled Orbital Marine Power and Magallanes Renovables to successfully install 2MW tidal energy technologies at the site without having to obtain additional consents due to their technologies being rated over 1MW.

The Billia Croo wave test site off Orkney's west coast. Picture: Colin Keldie/EMEC
The Billia Croo wave test site off Orkney's west coast. Picture: Colin Keldie/EMEC

“The success of the site-wide Section 36 at the Fall of Warness site led us to apply for a similar consent for the Billia Croo wave test site.”

EMEC contracted Land Use Consultants to complete a seascape, landscape and visual impact assessment and Xodus Group to conduct an environmental appraisal assessing the potential environmental impacts that may occur during the installation, operation, maintenance and decommissioning phases of device and infrastructure testing at the Billia Croo test site.

These assessments were focused on an agreed ‘envelope’ of device types and activities that could be deployed within the test site boundaries. The appraisal was supported by specialist expertise from Atlantic Ecology and Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology.

The Billia Croo Section 36 consent application has been funded by Interreg NWE FORESEA programme.



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