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Minesto’s Dragon 12: Pioneering Megawatt-Scale Tidal Energy in the Faroe Islands

by Anna

As global energy demands rise, the quest for sustainable solutions intensifies, with tidal energy emerging as a reliable source to address climate change challenges. Minesto, a leader in marine energy, has reached a milestone with the commissioning of its first megawatt-scale tidal kite power plant in the Faroe Islands, presenting a promising solution to the intermittency issues faced by other renewable sources.

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Tidal energy holds a unique position among renewables, providing a consistent and dependable power supply unaffected by weather conditions. While solar and wind energy face challenges related to intermittent power generation, tidal energy, specifically using tidal kites, offers a solution that is both innovative and efficient.

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Traditional tidal projects, such as tidal barrages, involve expensive infrastructure, limiting their widespread adoption. However, Minesto’s Dragon kite power plant introduces a novel approach. The hydrodynamic wing, attached to a turbine, maneuvers in a figure-eight pattern within tidal streams, optimizing energy extraction. The Dragon 12, a 1.2 MW tidal kite with an 8-shaped flight path, recently achieved seamless integration into the national grid of the Faroe Islands, marking a significant leap in tidal energy technology.

The Dragon 12’s design, a tenfold increase in size from its predecessor, Dragon 4, showcases Minesto’s commitment to innovation. Its sophisticated onboard control system and rudders guide the kite through intricate paths, facilitating electricity generation as water passes through the turbine. Rigorous testing and adaptation of the Launch and Recovery System (LARS) were crucial to ensuring safe deployment and retrieval of the larger model.

Research indicates that Minesto’s technology can operate in challenging conditions, offering competitive performance and cost efficiency. The Dragon 12’s ability to amplify energy extraction potential from tidal streams by a factor of 35, coupled with its lightweight, modular, and scalable design, positions it as a cost-effective alternative to stationary turbines.

From the successful installation of the inaugural Dragon Class power plant in 2022 to the recent commissioning of Dragon 12 on February 12, Minesto is at the forefront of transforming the marine energy landscape. The Dragon 12 not only showcases the viability of tidal energy but also opens the door to the development of large-scale commercial subsea parks of tidal power plants.

Minesto’s pioneering efforts align with the broader goals of the renewable energy sector, offering a sustainable and consistent power source that has the potential to reshape our energy landscape. As the Dragon 12 powers the future of renewable energy, it sets the stage for the widespread adoption of tidal energy solutions and the establishment of a cleaner, greener future.

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