Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC) has signed an agreement with Orbital Marine Power Ltd., developers of the Orbital O2 tidal turbine, to bring the Isle of Wight a step closer to producing tidal energy.
PTEC has gained offshore consents to place tidal turbines in the sea off the south coast of the Isle of Wight, and Orbital is the first company to sign up, with an initial target deployment of up to 15 MW by the end of 2025.
Each of Orbital’s 2-MW O2 turbines can generate sufficient clean, predictable electricity to power around 2,000 UK homes and offset about 2,200 tonnes of CO2 production per year. The company recently launched the first O2 from the Port of Dundee before towing the unit to the Orkney Islands where it will be grid connected at the European Marine Energy Centre in the coming weeks and enter commercial operation for the next 15 years.
“This is an important moment for the Isle of Wight economy. Having one of the most advanced tidal turbines in the world producing clean, predictable energy on our site will be a huge step forward for Britain and the Island,” said Rob Stevens, chairman of PTEC. “It will establish the Isle of Wight and the Solent at the center of an exciting new marine energy sector, unlocking investment, jobs and a new future.
“The Orbital O2 is a remarkable innovation that sets a new benchmark for marine generation. We are thrilled to have the team on board.”
Oliver Wragg, commercial director of Orbital, said: “This is a fantastic step for Orbital and the UK tidal power sector. This agreement will enable a commercial tidal energy project that will pave the way for tidal steam energy to make a meaningful and complementary contribution to the UK’s transition to net zero. The tidal resource off the Isle of Wight has enormous potential to provide predictable, clean power; and we are excited that PTEC has recognized our proven credibility in delivering world leading tidal energy projects. This project can be the touchpaper that ignites an exciting new UK wide supply chain that secures local jobs as tidal energy plays its part in the energy transition.”
Tidal energy contributes to UK and international targets for renewable energy generation and PTEC will help achieve the government’s declared objective of Net Zero by 2050. It is estimated that the tides around the Isle of Wight have the capacity to generate around 300 MW of renewable power.
Last year Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of State for Business, stated that he was considering ring-fencing capacity in the next Contract for Difference round for wave and tidal energy projects. The Secretary said he is “very sympathetic” to running a “pot within a pot” to support development of marine energy schemes. This commitment is crucial if tidal power is to reach its potential in the UK.
The Orbital technology has been under continuous engineering development, including rigorous testing of scaled systems in both tank conditions and open ocean environments, since the company was founded in 2002. The O2 turbine has a long hull structure with twin 1-MW power generating nacelles at the end of retractable leg structures designed to give low-cost access to all major components for through-life servicing. The 10-m blades give the O2 more than 600m² of swept area to capture flowing tidal energy. The floating structure is held on station with a four-point mooring system where each mooring chain has the capacity to lift over 50 double decker buses. Electricity is transferred from the turbine via a dynamic cable to the seabed and a static cable along the seabed to the local onshore electricity network.