Orbital wins Saltire funding to install 2MW tidal turbine

The Scottish Government has made the first award from its  £10 million Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund: £3.4 million has been awarded to help Orbital Marine Power install its O2 floating tidal energy turbine.

The 72m long turbine, capable of generating more than 2MW from the tidal stream, will be built in Scotland and installed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. Its turbine rotors can be turned 360° to allow power to be extracted from both tidal directions.

The device will be manufactured by Scottish company Texo Group at their new quayside facilities in Dundee. Key components will be delivered by Gray Fabrication in Cupar using material from Liberty Steel in Motherwell.

Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “We have established a world lead in marine renewable technologies and this project represents a significant step forward in technological development. We are delighted this landmark turbine, designed by an innovative Scottish company, will also be built in Scotland.

“We believe tidal energy technology can not only play an important role in our own future energy system, but it has substantial export potential and this fund will help move tidal technologies closer to commercial deployment.

“However, the large scale roll out of both tidal and wave energy technologies has been harmed by the UK Government’s decision in 2016 to abandon its commitment to provide ring-fenced funding support. UK ministers must act quickly to provide the revenue support this exciting and innovative sector requires to achieve its economic potential.”

Orbital chief executive Andrew Scott said: “The O2 project will demonstrate how this emerging industrial sector has the ability to deliver new jobs and open up diversification opportunities for the UK’s supply chain in a growing global market whilst pioneering solutions for a zero carbon future.”

The £10 million Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund was announced in February this year and is open until 6 December 2019.