The tidal turbine, which weighs 680 metric tons and is called the “most powerful in the world,” has begun grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Center in Orkney, an archipelago north of mainland Scotland.
The news marks another major step forward for the UK’s early marine energy sector.
In a Wednesday announcement, Scottish engineering firm Orbital Marine Power explained how a 2-megawatt O2 turbine was anchored in a body of water called the Fall of Warness., Use submarine cables to connect to the power grid in the land area.
The 74-meter-long turbine is expected to “operate off Orkney for the next 15 years” and “capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of some 2,000 UK households.”
Turbines are also set up to power the onshore electrolytic cells that produce so-called green hydrogen. In a statement, Andrew Scott, CEO of Orbital Marine Power, described Wednesday’s news as “a major milestone in O2.”
Funding for the construction of O2 is provided by public lenders through Abundance Investment. The Scottish Government is also providing £ 3.4 million in support through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.
“It’s an ideal place to take advantage of the huge global market for ocean energy,” said Michael Matheson, Scottish Government’s Chief Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport.
“The deployment of the O2 of Orbital Marine Power, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and an important milestone on the road to Net Zero,” he continued.
Looking to the future, Orbital Marine Power said it was “focusing” on the commercialization of technology with the deployment of multi-megawatt arrays.
With miles of coastline, the UK as a whole is home to many projects related to ocean energy.
Announced in April A year-long research project focusing on the potential of storm surge, wave and floating wind technology It secured support from Marine-i, a program centered on innovation such as ocean energy.
The project is based on the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the southwest coast of England, led by the Isles of Scilly Community Venture, Planet A Energy and Waves4Power.
There is also the possibility of rivers. Back in March, Port of London authorities Tidal energy technology testing started on part of the ThamesA move that could ultimately help decarbonize river-related work.
While interest in ocean-based energy systems appears to be growing, the current footprint of the industry and its technology remains small.
According to Ocean Energy Europe figures, the tidal capacity added in Europe last year was only 260 kW (kW), but wave energy was only 200 kW installed.
In contrast, according to the industry group WindEurope, 14.7 gigawatts of wind energy capacity was installed in Europe in 2020.
“The most powerful tidal turbine in the world” begins to export electricity to the grid
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