In the Faroe Islands, Minesto is part of one of the world’s most ambitious energy transition schemes – to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030. Collaborating with local electric utility company SEV, Minesto is working to pave the way for tidal energy to become a core part of the Faroese energy mix. Minesto and SEV have a collaboration agreement including a power purchase agreement, through which SEV commits to purchase the electricity generated by Minesto’s tidal kite systems.
In April 2022, Minesto announced a detailed plan for large-scale buildout of tidal energy arrays in the Faroe Islands. The large-scale buildout plan sets out a stepwise installation of tidal kite arrays, each with 20-40 MW installed capacity, at four verified locations. In addition to Minesto’s existing grid-connected site in Vestmannasund, the company points out Hestfjord, Leirviksfjord, Skopunarfjord and Svinoyarfjord as ideal arrays. With a total capacity of 120 MW tidal energy, generating an estimated 350 GWh per year, the arrays would supply 40% of the Faroe Islands’ growing electricity consumption.
The company achieved a historic milestone in the Faroe Islands project in May 2022. The first week of commissioning, including satisfactory electricity production and verification of all core functionality with the new Dragon 4 tidal power plant, was successfully completed in Vestmanna, Faroe Islands. The kite generated first electricity to grid right ”out of the box” and the commissioning was executed as planned.
Hestfjord is identified as an ultimate location for the first tidal energy kite array. The total planned capacity of the array is about 30 MW, including twenty-four kite systems at 1.2 MW each. The annual yield of the site is estimated to be 84 GWh*, which is equivalent of 20% of the total Faroese energy consumption in 2021.
In 2020, Minesto reached the milestone of delivering electricity to the Faroese grid from the DG100 tidal kite model in Vestmannasund. This historical achievement – the first time a tidal kite has produced electricity to grid – was the result of a successful installation, testing and commissioning program during the summer and autumn 2020.
In December 2022, Minesto successfully completed additional offshore infrastructure installation in Vestmannasund, Faroe Islands. The instrastructure installed includes a second foundation, subsea cable, and onshore interface. Minesto also signed a long-term lease agreement with the Vestmanna municipality and Faroese utility company SEV for port access and onshore operations and maintenance (O&M) work site in December 2022. The agreement grants access to a 2,050 m site in the inner harbour of Vestmanna, Inni á Fjørð; including a new grid connection.
Minesto’s project in the Faroe Islands has gained considerable interest of the tidal energy industry in general, and Minesto’s technology in particular. International and national media outlets alike have reported on the Vestmannasund/DGIM project, from CNBC to Ny Teknik.
In 2021, Minesto and the project was showcased in a TV documentary on the global streaming service Curiosity Stream.
The collaboration is the first phase of a long-term ambition to add further tidal energy capacity by Minesto’s technology to the Faroe Island’s energy mix. The Faroe Islands have set a goal of producing their entire electricity need from renewable energy sources by 2030, including transport and heating.
Commenting on the signed agreement in November 2018, Minesto’s CEO Dr Martin Edlund said: “SEV is an advanced customer with a pioneering energy transition agenda and a world-class tidal energy resource. With Minesto’s technology, they can add a predictable and affordable source of clean energy with the potential to play a significant role in Faroes Islands’ transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.”
Hákun Djurhuus, CEO of SEV said: “As a remote island society, we don’t have the option of buying electricity from neighbouring countries. We need to create the opportunities for a sustainable future ourselves. Therefore, we are in continuous process of revising our road map to 100 percent clean energy. For the last year, we have carried out tidal stream measurements, as tidal energy at the right cost level can be one important piece of the puzzle, and we are looking forward to exploring that opportunity further together with Minesto and their innovative technology for converting tidal stream energy to clean electricity.”
In June 2019, Minesto was awarded a €2.5 million grant from the European Commission’s SME Instrument programme. The awarded funding supported the installation of Minesto’s technology in the Faroe Islands together with Faroese utility company SEV through a project named ’Deep Green Island Mode’ (DGIM). The project sponsors considered that the successful demonstration of DGIM will act as a first step to developing commercial ties with utilities across Europe, both for smaller-scale microgrid systems and as a catalyst for the market up take of larger utility-scale Deep Green systems. DGIM enables a cost-efficient way to offer clean, predictable electricity generation to island communities and other remote users.