A tidal turbine dubbed as “world’s most powerful” located in Orkney, Scotland, had started exporting power to the grid. The new tidal power infrastructure marks a major milestone for the UK’s renewable energy and marine energy sector.
What is Happening?
- A tidal turbine, Orbital Marine Power’s O2, started generating and exporting grid-connected power at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland on July 28.
- Otherwise known as “the world’s most powerful” tidal turbine, the O2 weighs 680 metric tons and 74m long, and is expected to operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years, which is about the same time it took to develop and build.
- The O2’s tidal power is expected to provide electricity for 2,000 homes in the UK generated from the waves off the coast of Scotland.
- The turbine is also set to send power to a land-based electrolyzer that will generate green hydrogen, a lighter fuel obtained using electrical current to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen in water, which could potentially significantly lower carbon emissions.
- O2’s construction was funded by public lenders as well as the Scottish government, who provided around USD $4.72 million of support through its Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund. Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy Michael Matheson of Scottish Government stated the project to be “a significant milestone in our journey to net zero.”
- Orbital is now “setting its sights on commercialising its technology” through the deployment of multi-megawatt arrays and contributing to the UK’s clean energy transition, as well as supporting long term employment to the coastal communities. Andrew Scott, Orbital’s CEO, states: “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 kick-off of the tidal turbine project marks a big step towards renewable energy for Scotland and for the UK. Cabinet Secretary Matheson adds: “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.
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