Ground-breaking Scottish tidal project to power thousands of homes moves to next phase

The Scottish firm behind what has been billed as the world’s most powerful tidal turbine is raising a further £4 million via a crowdfunding platform to move into the next phase of the ground-breaking project.

In 2018, Orbital Marine Power raised £7m through ethical investment-based crowdfunder Abundance to build the two-megawatt capacity O2 floating tidal turbine.

Construction was completed last summer on budget and with only minimal delays due to the pandemic.

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Manufactured and launched in Dundee before being towed up to Orkney, the 74-metre turbine represents the culmination of more than 15 years of product development.

Having withstood a winter of stormy weather, the turbine has now been fully commissioned, and since last July has been exporting electricity to the UK grid. It will be capable of generating enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of around 2,000 UK homes every year, for 15 years, saving more than 30,000 tonnes of carbon.

Orbital Marine plans to integrate its innovative tidal stream technology in a ground-breaking project in Orkney with battery storage and green hydrogen production and to deploy the O2 technology across further multi-megawatt projects.

Chief executive Andrew Scott said: “We want to transform the tidal stream energy sector and unlock a new source of clean, predictable power for millions of people, homes and businesses around the world. We have already built and deployed the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, and the next stage of our growth promises to be even more exciting.”

Bruce Davis, co-founder and joint managing director, Abundance, said: “With backing from 2,300 Abundance customers Orbital has reached a key marker and now they are ready to move onto the next exciting stage of the voyage.

Orbital Marine Power is behind the distinctive O2 floating tidal turbine.

“They are proof that the UK has the potential to lead the global tidal industry and grow a new, low carbon industrial base, creating many thousands of long-term, skilled jobs where they are needed.”

Orbital’s turbine is a floating tidal turbine platform that can be towed, installed and maintained using small, local vessels. Its innovative design allows it to generate renewable energy from naturally occurring tidal currents without the need for barrages or dams, with simpler installation and maintenance as risky underwater operations can be avoided.

Since Abundance was founded in 2012 offering investments in solar and wind energy, the platform has diversified into a wide range of other green and transition sectors.

Orbital’s fund-raising launch this week brings the current number of open investments on Abundance to eight, with almost £30m available for investors in electric vehicle infrastructure, vertical farming, natural capital, tidal power and councils.

Davis added: “Orbital’s success shows the power of investment-based crowdfunding to create world-leading green industries and jobs.

“As the green economy evolves in new and innovative ways our customers are at the forefront, with record levels of investment on the platform driving forward better ways of doing energy, food and transport. There’s never before been as much choice about how to have an impact with your money.”

Orkney-headquartered Orbital was founded in 2002 and also has a presence in Edinburgh.

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