A GLOBAL leader in tidal technology has linked up with two Orkney-based companies in a bid to bring down the cost of renewable energy production.

Dutch company Tocardo Tidal Power has burst on to the tidal scene in the UK with the InToTidal project kick-off and the arrival of Tocardo’s system in Orkney last week in preparation for its deployment at the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC’s) grid-connected tidal test site. It is the start of Tocardo’s planned 20-year commercial demonstration project at EMEC’s Fall of Warness site.

With the installation of the system, Tocardo is getting ready for a large scale roll-out of its generic solution for tidal energy production.

Led by Tocardo, the project brings together Orkney-based companies EMEC and Leask Marine, and French research institute IFREMER. Tocardo has already been working with international shipyard Damen, as well as Leask Marine, Bryan J Rendall Electrical and Aquatera in Orkney for the system deployment at EMEC’s tidal site.

Hans van Breugel, CEO of Tocardo Tidal Power, said: “Our work at EMEC is an important step in de-risking and improving Tocardo’s offshore tidal power technology. Tocardo’s benchmark is to produce energy at the cost of offshore wind in the near future. To be able to achieve this, the tidal energy sector needs to be able to increase the installed volume of equipment.

“In that respect it is important to see a support scheme suitable for the marine energy sector, to encourage technology companies like Tocardo to build out on an industrial scale in the UK. A revenue-based support mechanism, decreasing over time, has proved to be best in creating a new industry through market incentives, as learned from, as an example, the industry growth of the Danish wind energy sector.

“Tocardo is ready to become one of the larger inward investment companies into the marine energy sector, with a strong operational and production base in Scotland and Wales. The UK is extremely well positioned as a maritime nation to create new jobs from the growing tidal energy industry.” Established in 2003, EMEC is the world’s leading facility for testing wave and tidal energy converters in real sea conditions. It offers independent, accredited grid-connected test berths for full-scale prototypes, as well as test sites in less challenging conditions for use by smaller scale technologies, supply chain companies, and equipment manufacturers. To date, more marine energy converters have been deployed in Orkney than at any other single site in the world, with 17 clients from nine countries having tested 27 marine energy devices. With more than 13 years of experience, EMEC also offers performance assessments, environmental technology verification (ETV), a range of research and consultancy services, and has facilitated the development of international standards for marine energy.

Tocardo International BV has installed three linked turbines in the Afsluitdijk, a 30km-long primary sea defence in The Netherlands. Another Tocardo turbine in the Afsluitdijk has been providing electricity for more than eight years.

Tocardo also deployed its first offshore floating project at the Island of Texel. Its flagship project is the tidal power plant in the Delta Works, south-west of Rotterdam, which is also the world’s largest commercial tidal installation of five turbines in an array.