Floating tidal developer Orbital Marine Power says it intends to qualify several projects for the next round of the UK Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD), following confirmation of ringfenced funding for the sector.
Orbital said it would make “multiple applications” in the upcoming CfD Allocation Round 4 (AR4), and that it has a “credible course” to delivering multi-device projects in locations across the UK as early as 2025.
Last month the government announced it would provide £20 million per year in ringfenced tidal stream project support as part of the AR4 bidding process, following pressure from industry and MPs.
One application will centre on the Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC), following the approval of onshore consents for the project by the Isle of Wight Council Planning Committee.
Orbital was the first company to sign up for deployment at the site, located to the south of the Isle of Wight. Up to 30MW of capacity is approved for the PTEC scheme, and offshore consents, onshore consents and grid connection agreement have now been completed.
The developer will also target deployment at the planned Morlais project in Anglesey, where a 13.5 square mile area of seabed has been set aside off Holy Island, and where the company is a longstanding berth holder. The project was awarded consents for development from Welsh Government on 10 December.
Orbital’s flagship device, the 2 megawatt (MW) O2 turbine, is currently anchored in the Fall of Warness at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, and has been delivering power since July 2021. The company says this “positive performance” from this device stands the technology in good stead for deployment at further sites.
The firm has also been buoyed by strategic investment from offshore contractor TechnipFMC last month. Orbital Marine said the partnership was a “game-changer” for the company and the wider sector, and will see TechnipFMC use its industrialisation capabilities to scale up the technology and deliver the first “commercial scale” floating tidal field.
Commenting on its CfD plans, Orbital’s commercial director Oliver Wragg said: “With clear Government backing for tidal stream energy, we are now seeing significant commercial project opportunities come forward with the ability to secure a CfD in AR4 and move into construction.”
Mr Wragg said confirmation of ringfenced government funding was “firing the starting gun on what will rapidly become a new global renewable energy industry.”
“Successful project applications will result in substantial inward investment in UK supply chain, with creation of hundreds of jobs across the length and breadth of the country. In addition to the manufacture of Orbital turbines, long-term local employment will be created to support the ongoing delivery of these flagship renewable energy projects,” he added.