The “world’s most powerful tidal turbine” has started generating electricity via the grid in Orkney.
Developer Orbital Marine Power said the O2 is the culmination of more than 15 years of work and its first commercial turbine.
The 74metre machine is anchored in the Fall of Warness and connected to the grid at the European Marine Energy Centre via a subsea cable.
Orbital Marine Power said the two mega-watt (MW) offshore unit is expected to operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years, capable of meeting the energy demands of around 2,000 UK homes.
The O2 will also provide power to an onshore electrolyser to generate green hydrogen.
CEO Andrew Scott said: “This is a major milestone for the O2 and I would like to commend the whole team at Orbital and our supply chain for delivering this pioneering renewable energy project safely and successfully.
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector.”
Success for UK manufacturing
Orbital Marine said the project, manufactured and launched in Dundee earlier in the year, is the result of “leading product development in the UK” with 80% of the turbine delivered by suppliers based in-country.
The company, which has bases in Edinburgh and Orkney, expects costs to fall as the technology is deployed more widely as seen in offshore wind and solar.
Orbital’s next phase will be targeting multi-MW arrays of turbines to “bring long term employment to coastal communities”.
Mr Scott added: “We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
Construction of the O2 turbine was enabled by public lenders through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment, as well as £3.4million in Scottish Government support through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy Michael Matheson said: “The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero. I congratulate Orbital Marine, the European Marine Energy Centre and everyone who has made this achievement possible
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally-placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.”