world’s most powerful tidal turbine starts generating clean energy off the coast of scotland

Aug 04, 2021

renewable technology company orbital marine power  has launched the world’s most powerful tidal turbine off the coast of orkney in scotland. named ‘O2’, the 74-meter-long device will provide clean, reliable energy for the next 15 years. the 2MW turbine has the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of approximately 2,000 homes across the UK.

images and videos courtesy of orbital marine power

located off the northeastern tip of scotland’s mainland, the orkney isles offers great wave power potential due to its exposed position where the atlantic ocean and the north sea meet. the O2 is anchored in the fall of warness, which boasts ‘high-velocity tidal flows reaching up to four metres per second (around eight knots)’,  according to the european marine energy centre (EMEC) in orkney. connected to the local onshore electricity network via a subsea cable, the turbine has already begun generating green energy.

the O2 took more than 15 years of development before it was manufactured and launched in dundee earlier in 2021. the massive turbine was later towed up to orkney. in its recent press release, orbital also announced that the O2 will power EMEC’s onshore electrolyser to provide green hydrogen (pure hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources).

‘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 andrew scott, CEO of orbital marine power. ‘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 O2 was funded by public lenders and green initiatives by the scottish government and the european union. michael matheson, cabinet secretary for net zero and energy, commented, ‘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 £3.4m 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,’  matheson continued.

orbital is now setting its sights on commercialising its technology through the deployment of multi-MW arrays. ‘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’,  said scott.

project info:

name: O2

company: orbital marine power