12 October 2015

 Floating tidal energy platform prepares to double capacity

The BlueTEC Texel Tidal partnership is proud to announce that the first months of operating the BlueTEC tidal energy platform have been a success. With every tidal flow, the platform supplies electricity into the Dutch national grid. The project partners are now planning the installation of a second, larger turbine.

“Getting the platform from the drawing board to a grid-connected operating reality in just 6 months is amazing,” says Allard van Hoeken, Head of New Energy at Bluewater Energy Services and recent recipient of the first Prince Friso Engineers Award. “The electricity production is conform expectations, the mooring loads are lower than expected and the stability is better than expected. It is a great success.”

Shortly after its launch this summer the platform’s new moorings passed their first serious tests with flying colours as two large storms passed over the area.

With the platform up and running smoothly, the project partners are now looking forward to the next step in its development. “We will install the next turbine – a Tocardo T2 – before the winter. This will double the platform’s capacity,” says Mr Van Hoeken. “A few months after that we will install a second T2 turbine. With two turbines working simultaneously this will double the capacity once again to reach the 400-500 kW mark. This means a proven solution is available on the market. In the meantime we will proceed to even larger units of 2.5 MW each ”

“These units can supply clean energy to islands and remote locations below the cost of diesel generators. In addition, what the industry may only be starting to realise, is that they also pave the way towards large, utility-scale tidal farms. Starting with 500 kW units means using existing technology and a small grid setup, hence keeping the required investment and associated risks to a minimum. In the following step, our 2.5 MW units will be used for full development,” he says.

The BlueTEC platform serves as a demonstrator model. The platform’s ease of maintenance illustrates the advantages of a floating system perfectly: “It has been very easy to solve any issues we came across,” informs Mr Van Hoeken. “We can reach the platform with a small boat, open the watertight door and enter the electronics room, fix and replace something and be back on land an hour later.”

Cooperative partners

The list of project partners includes Bluewater, Damen Shipyards Group, Niron Staal, Van Oord, Acta Marine, Vryhof Anchors, TKF, Tocardo, Schottel Hydro, NIOZ, Tidal Testing Centre, Nylacast and the Port of Den Helder. Talking about the close cooperation within the project partnership, Mr Van Hoeken’s enthusiasm is evident: “We are a group of great, strong and motivated partners,” he says. “Where everyone does their best to make it succeed – applying their skills to realise a new way of harnessing clean power.” Further support came from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the Waddenfonds programme, in addition to EU Life funding during the developmental phase.

Time for celebration

To celebrate the milestone moment of first electricity generation, the Texel Tidal Project partners are holding an open reception at the forthcoming Offshore Energy Exhibition at the Amsterdam RAI, the Netherlands. This will be an opportunity to meet the various partners and to learn more about the project. The reception is to be held on Tuesday 13 October from 16.00 to 18.00 at the Damen and TKF exhibition booths (#9.023 & #9.017). On Wednesday 14 October, the project results will be presented at the special Marine Energy event from 12.30 – 18.00.

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