Horizon 2020 – Advancing tidal power

ABB is a member of an EU funded project consortium to advance the commercialization of floating tidal energy.

In February this year, the European Commission’s research and innovation program, Horizon 2020, awarded a grant of €10 million to demonstrate the potential for floating tidal systems to provide low-cost energy to the European energy mix. ABB is a member of the project consortium that brings together the most experienced and committed commercial, industrial and research organizations involved in tidal energy today: Scotrenewables, an engineering company specializing in the development of tidal energy turbine technology, leads the consortium.

Whereas the wind and solar power are an integral part of Europe’s energy mix today, other renewable energy sources, such as wave and tidal, are not yet commercialized. Thinking about the advantages they have, this is quite surprising. Compared to the wind and solar, wave and tidal power are more predictable and consistent. But the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that this will change – according to their forecast the globally installed wave and tidal power arrays will reach a capacity of more than 330 gigawatts (GW) by 2050. That’s about the capacity wind power reached in 2014.

FloTEC logo blue on white

The EU-funded Floating Tidal Energy Commercialization (FloTEC) project is certainly a very important step towards commercialization of tidal energy. It will advance Scotrenewables’ current 2 MW floating tidal turbine technology, the SR2000, with the objective to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCoE) of floating tidal energy.

The project will allow for a more economical manufacturing and integrated energy storage

The project will cover several aspects, such as advanced standard power conversion technology as already used in the offshore wind today, more economical manufacturing and integrated energy storage. One aspect that’s being looked into is to reduce costs by moving the electrical equipment, which is currently installed in the hull of the floating turbine, onshore. We expect that by installing the electrical equipment, such as converter and switchgear onshore, the structure of the hull can be simplified and installation and maintenance costs can be significantly lowered. This is just one part of the project, which will deliver a number of innovations to reduce the cost of tidal energy.

The plan is that the 2 MW prototype of the tidal turbine, the SR2000-M2, will be installed alongside Scotrenewables’ SR2000 turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) tidal test site in Orkney, where the 4 MW floating tidal array will serve as a demonstration platform for commercially viable tidal stream energy.

ABB will provide engineering services and simulation studies that will focus on an optimal design of the electrical drivetrain and the connection to the grid to ensure lowest LCoE and grid code compliance. I’m excited and proud that ABB is part of this important project.

EU Flag Blue Yellow

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 691916.
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About the author

Marco Thoma

I'm Head of Global Sales and Marketing for Medium Voltage Converters used in wind turbines. I have been active in the converter business since 2001 in different areas of engineering, product development, operations and now marketing and sales. My background is electrical engineering and business administration (MBA). I like the challenges in the wind industry and the influence we have together with our customers to change the world and ensure that our kids can live the same good life as we do.
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