EMEC to support Chinese marine energy centre

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), based in Orkney, Scotland has agreed to extend support to Qingdao Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (QNLM) to develop wave and tidal test centre for marine energy converters (MECs) in China.

With more than 15 years of experience in designing, building and operating its marine energy test facilities, EMEC has now started exporting its wealth of marine energy knowledge and expertise to support other countries in establishing their own marine energy centres.

EMEC has been working alongside QNLM and Ocean University of China (OUC), supporting and guiding for the creation of a test centre for marine energy converters in China, for the past seven years. The new test site will offer a model for how future test facilities could be established across China.

The test centre will be located in the Shandong Provence, south of Qingdao near Zhaitang Island. The location is touted to have ideal conditions for testing wave and tidal energy technologies.

The test centre is expected to operational by next year and the test site will include two offshore sites, one for wave and one for tidal, while sharing one onshore substation. Each site will be connected to Zhaitang Island’s grid via a subsea cable with 200kW capacity. Sensors and monitoring equipment for marine energy converters will also be installed.

EMEC stated that it will support in the design and technical specifications for the test centre, including subsea cables, connectors, substation and microgrid, along with guidance on the data acquisition system for integrated environmental monitoring at the test site.

EMEC commercial director Oliver Wragg said: “This is a big deal for EMEC, but also for the marine sectors in China and Europe. The marine energy opportunity is a global one, and we’re ready to work with anyone who is serious about making it happen.

“Since 2003, EMEC have welcomed 32 devices from 20 companies from 11 different countries to test at our centre in Orkney; this has allowed us to build a model that China’s test centre can learn from and emulate in setting up their own marine energy test site.

“We’ve been met with a real appetite from China to learn from the experience we’ve gained, and we’re keen to continue building collaborative R&D and innovation links between the UK and China to help drive the development of ocean energy on a global scale.”

Recently, Crown Estate Scotland extended the lease of EMEC’s lease site till 2040. The lease extension could support long-term ambitions and demonstration plans of EMEC’s clients.