Tidal energy project handed £3.4m funding by ministers

The tidal turbine will be installed in Orkney.

A project to build the world’s “most powerful” floating tidal turbine has been awarded £3.4 million of Scottish Government funding.

Scottish engineering company Orbital Marine Power (Orbital) will use the money to deliver the next generation O2 2MW floating tidal energy turbine, capable of powering more than 1,700 homes per year.

The 72-metre long O2, capable of generating more than 2MW from tidal stream resources, will be built in Scotland and installed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

The company is the first to receive funding from the Scottish Government’s £10 million Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund, which supports the development of tidal energy in Scotland.

O2 turbines
The O2 will be capable of generating more than 2MW from tidal stream resources (Orbital Marine/PA)

Scotland’s 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.”

The Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge fund was announced in February this year and is open until December 6 2019.

The O2 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.

Andrew Scott, Orbital’s chief executive, said: “We greatly appreciate the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment and support for tidal stream energy and this award will enable us to deliver a truly exciting and transformational project, and continue the proud tradition of Scottish innovation and engineering.

“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.”

Robin Parker, climate and energy policy manager at WWF Scotland, said: “As we transition to a wholly renewable electricity system, tidal will have an important role to play.

“Scotland has been blessed with huge renewable energy potential which we need to make the most of if we are to accelerate our response to the climate crisis.

“We’ve seen huge growth in onshore and offshore wind over recent years, and it is good to see this government support now going to tidal energy.”

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