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World’s most powerful tidal turbine to be launched in Dundee next week

© Gareth Jennings/DCT MediaThe turbine in Dundee.
The turbine in Dundee.

A groundbreaking new tidal turbine manufactured in Dundee is to be launched from the city’s port next week.

Orbital Marine Power, Scottish-based developers of floating tidal turbine technology, is launching the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, the Orbital O2 2MW, from Dundee to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) off the Orkney Islands.

The O2’s technology means it is capable of generating over 2MW from tidal stream resources and will become the world’s most powerful tidal turbine.

The work has been carried out by TEXO Group, which has signed a multi-million pound contract to construct Orbital Marine Power’s first commercial tidal turbine from its base at the Port of Dundee.

The project created around 100 local jobs and Orbital are so pleased with the outcome that it is their “very great ambition” to return to the city for future projects.

Andrew Scott, chief executive of Orbital Marine Power, said: “The port at Dundee and the work carried out by Texo and other local groups provided the perfect recipe for this project.

“Despite the pandemic, which caused a delay of around four to six months for us, we have completed the build and to budget which was excellent news for us.”

The O2 recently moved to quayside at Prince Edward Wharf, where it could be clearly seen by passersby.

Andrew said: “The plan now is that the turbine will be carefully loaded on to a barge next week and then floated out into the Tay, where the barge will be submerged and the turbine lowered off into the water.

The 680 tonne turbine will be accompanied by tugs coming from Orkney to take it on the journey back.

Andrew said: “This will be nerve wracking for all of us.

“This project has been four to five years in coming together for us but 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.”

He said the entire process and journey would take two to three days.

A spokesman for the company said the Orbital O2 comprises a unique and futuristic design of grand proportions at 72m long, with 600 sq. metre rotors (the largest ever on a tidal generator) and award winning ‘gull wing’ style retractable legs to facilitate access to the machines underwater systems.

It has the capacity to generate electricity for 2,000 homes and is the most powerful renewable generating unit of any kind being fabricated in the UK this year.

The O2 project has been financed in a number of ways including EU Horizon 2020 funding and a £7m crowdfunding bond which Orbital successfully raised at the start of the year, one of the largest peer-to-peer debentures in UK history.

The development of the O2 follows Orkney-based Orbital’s SR2000 tidal turbine, which generated more power in the past year than the entire Scottish marine energy sector managed in the 12 years prior to its launch.

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