Sustainable Marine Energy (SME) has successfully completed its first round of sea trials with its tidal energy platform, PLAT-O. The tidal energy industry has struggled with high costs for installation and maintenance but SME is demonstrating that by using its innovative platform which is moored under the surface of the water, these costs can be significantly reduced.
PLAT-O was launched from the company's facility in Venture Quays, East Cowes, Isle of Wight and towed to the test site at Yarmouth. Once at the site PLAT-O was submerged to installation depth and a series of tests were run. PLAT-O was successfully resurfaced and towed back to East Cowes, where it will be prepared for its next series of trials.
The marine operations were run using small vessels, demonstrating that a step change reduction in the cost of installing tidal energy devices can be achieved. The results of the sea trial provide increasing confidence in the potential for tidal streams to provide a commercially viable source of renewable energy.
Jason Hayman, Managing Director of SME, says, “We have reached a huge milestone in the development of our solution to address the costs associated with delivering tidal energy. Over a short period of time we have achieved a great deal thanks to our capable and passionate team. After this weekend's operations I am confident that PLAT-O provides the industry with a new approach which reduces the costs and risks associated with delivering tidal energy considerably.
Over the next few months we will be ramping up the time that PLAT-O spends at site, and running a series of tests which will culminate in the installation of PLAT-O at a more aggressive tidal site and generating power to the grid."
David Thomson, Managing Director of Orcades Marine Management Consultants, who manages the delivery marine operations for SME, adds, “The progress that the team at SME have made culminating with the recent trial installation of PLAT-O should be regarded as a terrific achievement. I have been involved in many tidal installation operations and I have seen first-hand the challenges facing the tidal industry in relation to the cost of operations.
It is clear to me that PLAT-O has the opportunity to succeed and provides a viable solution for the tidal energy industry."