World’s most powerful tidal turbine begins generating electricity in Orkney

28th July 2021 | Commercial Energy

The world’s most powerful tidal turbine has started grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. Orbital Marine Power’s O2 is a floating turbine anchored in the Fall of Warness where a subsea cable connects the 2MW offshore unit to the local onshore electricity network.

Manufactured and launched in Dundee earlier in the year before being towed up to Orkney, the O2 is Orbital’s first commercial turbine and represents the culmination of more than 15 years of world-leading product development. The 74-metre long turbine is expected to operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years with the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of around 2000 UK homes with clean, predictable power from the fast-flowing waters.

In a further “ground-breaking” element of the project, the O2 is to provide power to an onshore electrolyser to generate green hydrogen that will be used to demonstrate decarbonisation of wider energy requirements. Orbital CEO, Andrew Scott, said: “This is a major milestone for the O2 and I would like to commend the whole team at Orbital and our supply chain for delivering this pioneering renewable energy project safely and successfully.

“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector.” Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy Michael Matheson said: “With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.

“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years, including through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge fund, which provided £3.4 million for this project. The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero. I congratulate Orbital Marine, the European Marine Energy Centre and everyone who has made this achievement possible.”

Fabrice Leveque, head of policy at WWF Scotland said: “It’s great to see tidal technology being used to help decarbonise Scotland’s energy sector.

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