‘World’s most powerful’ wave turbine gets to work

Orbital Marine Power’s O2, dubbed ‘the world’s most powerful’ tidal turbine, has been connected to the grid, commencing power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

More than 15 years in development, the O2 is Orbital’s first commercial turbine. At 74m long, it is expected to operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years and has the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of around 2,000 UK homes with “clean, predictable power” from the fast-flowing waters.

“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,” says Orbital CEO, Andrew Scott. “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.”

The 2MW turbine’s floating superstructure is anchored in the Fall of Warness where it is connected to the local onshore electricity network via a subsea cable.

Funding for the turbine came from the ethical investment platform, Abundance Investment and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Orbital also received £3.4m from the Scottish government’s Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.

Scottish energy secretary Michael Matheson comments: “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. 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.”

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