Tidal power generation in British waters will break another record next week, as the world’s highest rated marine turbine is set to be floated away from its Scottish birthplace, ready for installation off the Orkney Islands.
At 72 metres long and 680-tonnes displacement, the 2 MW O2 turbine has been built in Dundee by marine engineers TEXO Group, to the specifications of developers Orbital Marine Power Ltd. Around 100 jobs were created in the multi-million pound project. Each covering an area of 600 sq meters, its two rotors are the largest ever incorporated into a tidal generator.
Five years in planning and construction, the O2’s arena of commercial operation will be the European Marine Energy Centre in the Orkneys, and specifically the Fall of Warness, one of two grid-connected sites near Stromness. Tidal flows there can exceed 3 metres per second. The O2 is projected to generate enough electricity to power 2,000 homes for a year.
Crowd-funding provided part of the project’s development capital. In December, Orbital Marine announced small investors had contributed over £1 million in less than a week to the O2 project.
Next week’s planned three-day towing of the device from Dundee to its permanent home will be facilitated by retraction of its stabilising fins. Orbital Marine Power CEO Andrew Scott told Dundee’s ‘Courier’ newspaper yesterday:
“This will be nerve wracking for all of us. Given a clear weather window, we hope that all will go successfully next week and the turbine will be safely launched before heading for Orkney”.
From Dundee’s Prince Edward Wharf, the O2 will be lifted onto a barge and towed out to the North Sea, where the barge will be submerged.