Trials commence with the world’s largest floating tidal power station

Jon Lawson

Orbital Marine Power has deployed its 2MW tidal turbine, the Orbital O2. It’s on its way to trials at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in the Orkney Islands. It’s the largest power station of its type the world. 

When towed to its position, the vessel is anchored in place by 4 mooring chains. The blades are then lowered into the water by the support arms. With a swept area of more than 600m2, each 10m blade is capable of generating 1MW. The electricity generated is transferred from the turbine unit via a dynamic cable to the seabed and a static cable along the seabed to the local onshore electricity network.

It’s big, at 680 tonnes, and 74m long, but it is designed to be serviceable by simple low cost rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) which the operators hope will reduce lifetime operating costs. 

Its launch marks the first from Dundee since ship building there ended over forty years ago. John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council said: “I’m very proud of the role that Dundee has played in helping to deliver this pioneering tidal turbine and congratulate the team at Orbital Marine and builder TEXO for their incredible efforts during the hardest year in recent memory. Orbital Marine’s incredible piece of engineering will play a pivotal role in showcasing this technology and helping Scotland to achieve its ambition in tackling the climate emergency, further propelling Dundee into a city which is transforming itself into a hub for renewables and innovation.”

Watch the video of the launch here



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