Orbital Marine Power’s O2 tidal turbine has commenced grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, Scotland.
The floating turbine is anchored in the Fall of Warness, where a subsea cable connects the 2-MW offshore unit to the local onshore electricity network.
“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,” said Orbital Chief Executive Officer 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.”
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 product development in the UK.
The 74-m-long turbine is expected to operate for the next 15 years, with the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of about 2,000 UK homes.
The O2 will also provide power to an onshore electrolyser to generate green hydrogen that will be used to demonstrate decarbonization of wider energy requirements.
“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,” said Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy Michael Matheson of the Scottish Government.
Orbital is now setting its sights on commercializing its technology through the deployment of multi-MW arrays.
On next steps, Scott said: “We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”