Orbital Marine Power’s O2, said to be the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, has commenced grid connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. The turbine is anchored in the Fall of Warness where a subsea cable connects the 2MW offshore unit to the local onshore electricity network.

Manufactured and launched in Dundee earlier in the year before being towed up to Orkney, the O2 is Orbital’s first commercial turbine and represents the culmination of more than 15 years of product development in the UK. The 74m long machine is expected to operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years: it will also provide power to EMEC’s onshore electrolyser to generate green hydrogen that will be used to demonstrate decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.

The construction of the O2 turbine was enabled by public lenders through the ethical investment platform, Abundance Investment, as well as being supported by the Scottish government via the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund and funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the FloTEC project, and the European Regional Development Fund.

Orbital is now setting its sights on commercialising its technology through the deployment of multi-MW arrays.