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Blog: Benefits of real sea testing – Nautricity’s experience

Accessible, flexible open water sites

EMEC’s clients benefit from a range of ready-made and cost-minimising test and demonstration facilities in major wave and tidal resources. Significant infrastructure investments have been made to make it as easy as possible for technology developers to learn by doing, with full confidentiality of performance data.

In addition to EMEC’s grid-connected sites, EMEC also offers real-sea test sites in the less challenging conditions of Scapa Flow and Shapinsay Sound. These sites provide a more flexible sea space helping close the gap from tank testing, and acting as a stepping stone towards larger scale projects. Such accessible real sea testing enables marine energy developers and suppliers to learn lessons more cheaply, reducing the need for big vessels or large plant.

“The site was certainly challenging enough, we had plenty of flow to test what we wanted to test and the reduced tidal flow meant we could do it at a lesser cost than if we were to go straight into the high energy sites.”

Robbie Macdonald, Project Engineer, Nautricity

Bespoke test support buoys can be provided, allowing developers to dissipate electricity generated by their devices and record data. Pre-installed anchor points provide mooring options, and an area of seabed is available for rehearsal or deployment of other tools and techniques. EMEC also holds an overarching site licence, simplifying the consent process within an agreed envelope of activity.

“It was much more straightforward and quicker to gain the necessary permissions and consents to deploy because outline consents were already in place”

The latest client to use one of these sites was Nautricity, a tidal energy developer. Robbie Macdonald, Project Engineer, provides some insight into their real sea testing experience with EMEC in the following case study:

“We came up against a lot of challenges throughout the development cycle, some relating to the deployment of the device, which couldn’t have been foreseen”

There is a cluster of energy, maritime and environmental expertise around EMEC, with a fast developing supply chain providing support to this new industry.

“A lot of the suppliers that we did use had worked in the marine renewables sector before due to all the activity around EMEC in Orkney so they already knew some of the challenges, and were happy to share some of their experience.”

For further information on EMEC’s real sea testing facilities download our leaflet:








Aquamarine Power


Atlantis Resources Corporation



Naval Group

Naval Group


Open Hydro


Orbital Marine




ScottishPower Renewables



Sustainable Marine Energy

Sustainable Marine Energy


Voith Hydro


Wello Oy

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