Picture of the Vestmannasund strait in the North West part of the Faroe Islands. Photo: Warren Cardwell

Faroe Islands – tidal energy to reach 100% renewable by 2030

In the Faroe Islands, Minesto is part of one of the world’s most ambitious energy transition schemes. Collaborating with the electric utility company SEV, Minesto is working to pave the way for tidal energy to become a core part of the Faroese energy mix, allowing them to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.

In November 2018, Minesto signed a collaboration agreement with the main power generator and distributor on the Faroe Islands, SEV, for the installation, commissioning and operation of two grid-connected units of Minesto’s DG100 model, part of the company’s unique subsea kite technology called Deep Green. The agreement also includes a power purchase agreement through which SEV commits to purchase the electricity generated by Minesto’s tidal energy converters.

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World's first tidal kite electricity to grid

In December 2020, Minesto reached the milestone of delivering electricity to the Faroese grid from the DG100 tidal kite system 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 October 2020, Minesto announced that the company had successfully verified the key kite system functions as well as conducted safe and efficient installation and recovery procedures.
  • In December 2020, Minesto initiated the process of generating renewable electricity from the tidal flows in Vestmannasund, using the Deep Green technology’s unique principle of enhancing the speed of the kite through the water to power homes connected to the Faroese grid.

Global-reaching publicity

Minesto’s project in the Faroe Islands has gained considerable interest of the tidal energy industry in general, and Minesto’s Deep Green technology in particular. International as well as national media outlets 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.

Vestmannasund site

The project site is located in Vestmannasund, a strait in the North West part of Faroe Islands.

Substantial opportunity to add tidal energy capacity

The collaboration is the first phase of a long-term ambition to add further tidal energy capacity by Minesto’s Deep Green technology to the Faroe Island’s energy mix, which is estimated to approximately 30–70MW installed capacity. 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”.

Minesto’s technology can 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”.

The Deep Green Island Mode Project

In June 2019, Minesto was awarded a €2.5 million grant from the European Commission’s SME Instrument programme. The awarded funding will support the installation of Minesto’s technology in the Faroe Islands together with the utility company SEV. The aim of the project, called Deep Green Island Mode (DGIM), is to install Minesto's first two commercially viable microgrid units in a production and customer environment. 

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 Project background

15 million Europeans live on Europe’s 2,400 inhabited islands, at an average of approximately 1,500 households per island. As recognised by the European Commission, island energy is expensive, polluting, inefficient and dependent on external supply, with significant negative impacts on emissions, the competitiveness of businesses, and the economy.

Existing renewable alternatives are often unsuitable for these communities, such as wind and solar power, as the energy they generate is unpredictable and intermittent, making it difficult to rely on. Conventional tidal energy technology is also often unsuitable, as it requires strong tidal flows (over 2.5m/s) which only occur in a few specific hot spots around the world.

Against this background, Minesto is currently developing DGIM, a stand-alone tidal and ocean current energy converter for off-grid applications. It is based on Minesto’s patented concept of flying an underwater kite, that when steered in an eight-shaped trajectory, generates a speed several times the speed of the actual current.

By doing so, DGIM enables a cost-efficient way to offer clean, predictable electricity generation to island communities and other remote users.

Swedish Energy Agency

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 872404 and from the Swedish Energy Agency under the programme Marine Energy Conversion – Phase 2.