The SNP Government has invested £3.4 million to help build the world’s most powerful floating tidal turbine.
This funding goes to Scottish engineering company Orbital Marine Power (Orbital) as the first recipient of the SNP Government’s £10 million Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund, which supports the development of tidal energy in Scotland by driving innovation and cost reduction. The fund was announced in February this year, is open until 06 December 2019 and can be applied for here.
Orbital will use the funding to deliver the next generation Oxygen gas (O2) floating tidal energy turbine, capable of powering more than 1,700 homes per year. The 72-metre long O2, generating more than two megawatts (MW) from tidal stream resources, will be manufactured by Scottish company Texo Group at their new quayside facilities in Dundee while key components will be delivered by Gray Fabrication in Cupar using material from Liberty Steel in Motherwell and installed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.
Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP said:
“We have established a world lead in marine renewable technologies and this project represents a significant step forward. I am delighted this landmark turbine, designed by an innovative Scottish company, will also be built in Scotland.
“Tidal energy will not only play an important role in our own future energy system, it has substantial export potential and this fund will help move tidal technologies closer to commercial deployment."
Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson added:
“Scotland has one third of the UK’s tidal stream resources and two thirds of its wave resources, which can provide vital renewable energy generation to combat the global climate emergency.
“Unfortunately, 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 resources this exciting and innovative sector requires to achieve its economic potential.”
Orbital’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Scott said:
“We greatly appreciate the SNP 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, commented:
"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 must 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 the Scottish Government support going into tidal energy."