Research and training top priority at Methil turbine demonstrator

Tony Quinn, operations director for ORE Catapult

Tony Quinn, operations director for ORE Catapult

ORE Catapult, which took over the running of the 7MW off-shore turbine in Methil earlier this year, has pledged to do all it can to work with the community.

The not-for-profit organisation has transformed the turbine into one of the most advanced and open access facilities dedicated to research and training in the world.

Already, bosses at ORE have been working hard to promote its work, partnering with Scottish engineering company SGURRenergy – who are providing full operational support – as well as universities and research companies to make the most of the turbine.

Tony Quinn, operations director for the Levenmouth demonstration turbine, said since the takeover in December 2015, operational figures on site have been good, adding: “The more it operates, the more it allows us to re-invest into research and the skills agenda, and in renewable energy in general.”

ORE Catapult is already working on two new projects, including one with Strathclyde university, and Tony said he has been “really pleased” with the response from universities and the wider industry.

“I’m pleased they’re seeing the opportunities that our turbine presents that wouldn’t have ordinarily been available to them.”

As well as project working, Tony said he is conscious of how the day-to-day running of the turbine affects those living nearby.

“I’m very conscious of how close the turbine is to local residents and I’m really anxious to demonstrate that we’re operating this turbine as a good neighbour,” he said.

“Flicker has been previously raised as an issue, so we’ve got predictive calculations based on the trajectory of the sun as to when flicker may occur, and combined with active monitoring and managing, I hope we’ve now eliminated that as an issue for the local residents.”

He also explained that a new noise consent means the turbine no longer has an ‘absolute’ limit, at which point it would need to be turned off, but instead takes cogniscence that background levels around Methil and Buckhaven might change if there is other activity in the area to the extent that the turbine noise is then indiscernable.

Moving forward, ORE is due to welcome 14 students who are studying as part of the turbine and technician course at Fife College.

As part of the course, two students will get to visit the turbine for one day a week over seven weeks so that all students get a chance to visit the turbine, where they will have an onsite induction including H&S briefing and then access to the turbine to practice internal turbine inspection techniques.

If successful, it could become a permanent programme.