The world’s most powerful tidal turbine, built by Scottish tidal stream turbine manufacturer Orbital Marine Power, has begun exporting power to the UK grid, delivering an important milestone for the tidal marine industry.
The 2MW O2 tidal turbine is located at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) at Scotland’s Orkney islands, anchored in the Fall of Warness tidal test site.
Measuring in at 74-metres and benefiting from some of the strongest tidal currents in the world, the O2 tidal turbine is expected to run for the next 15 years, generating enough electricity to meet the annual demand of around 2,000 homes.
Tidal power has been one of the junior renewable energy technologies for a while now, showing tremendous potential but falling prey to the success of more established technologies like wind and solar, which has attracted most of the available investment capital needed to scale up.
Tidal power turbines are anchored to the sea- or riverbed and use the regular shifting of the tides to turn its turbines. They can use tidal streams or river currents – which present a potentially inexhaustible source of energy generation, and tides are consistent and predictable.