Shapinsay Sound scale test site | European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)

European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)
European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)
Lead Organisation European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)
Country UK
Type Tidal, Subsea components
  • Type of Testing Tidal, Subsea components
    Year Established 2011
    Temperate/Tropical Temperate
    Commercial/Array/Full scale/Scale Scale
    Development Status Operational


    EMEC’s scale test sites were established following securing funding from the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (replaced by the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy). These have been sited and designed to allow developers to trial scale marine energy devices or device components – as well as full size prototypes – in less challenging sea conditions than those experienced at EMEC’s full-scale test sites at Billia Croo and the Fall of Warness.

    The site at Shapinsay Sound, to the north-east of Kirkwall, has fairly benign velocity marine currents with a peak tide of 1.5m/s. The site features water depths of 21m-25m water, in an area 0.4km across and approximately 0.9km in length.

    Operational data will be communicated via the SCADA interface; transmitted by air from a communications buoy at each test site. Unlike the larger, established, wave and tidal test sites the scale test sites will not be connected to the grid and there will be no cabling from the test berths to shore nor will there be any onshore infrastructure provided by EMEC in close proximity to the test site.
  • Number of Berths 2
    Water Depth 21-25m
    Min Water Depth (m) 21
    Max Water Depth (m) 25
    Avg Water Depth (m)
    Annual mean significant wave height 0.38m
    Maximum recorded wave height
    Mean (averaged current speed)
    Maximum current speed 0.4 - 1.1 m/s
    Maximum tidal range 3.5 m
    Mean wind speed
    Max wind speed
    Seabed type Rippled fine or medium sand with scattered boulders
    Total test area (km2) 0.36
    Distance to land
    Grid connected N
    Grid connection capacity
    Rated export capacity and connection
    Proximity to nearest harbour (km) 9km (Hatston Pier)
  • Demonstration Projects

    R&D Projects


    One berth with pre-laid foundation and attachment points, and adjacent blank test area. If required, the device under test will be connected to a test support buoy via two umbilical cables; one for power transmission and the other for control and communications.
    Anchor points: The pre-laid foundations on each berth comprise 5 gravity-base frames loaded with densecrete blocks for equipment moorings.
    Test Support Buoy: The buoy can relay data by wireless technology. The buoys can also be equipped to supply the marine energy devices on test with power, simulated grid, and act as navigational aids.
    SCADA (SCADA system : EMEC: European Marine Energy Centre)
    Office facilities at Warness Park, Kirkwall.

    Equipment available to support site deployments

    Fixed ADCP available for deployment, several frequencies.
    Baseline surveys:
    • Hydrographic survey
    • Resource Surveys
    • Wildlife observations
    • Environmental Scoping
    • Acoustic survey

    Services of test programmes offered on site

    Key supply chain companies in the region

    Supply chain at: