The world's most powerful tidal turbine has begun to generate electricity from the sea in Orkney.
Orbital Marine Power's O2 device is now connected to the grid and has the capacity to provide power to around 2000 homes over the next 15 years.
The 74-metre device arrived in local waters in May after being built in Dundee. It is now anchored at EMEC's Fall of Warness test site and connected to the local electricity network by a subsea cable. It's Orbital's first commercial turbine and represents more than 15 years of development.
Orbital 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.”
The O2 floats on the surface and is kept in place by four mooring points. Its two 10m-long blades capture flowing tidal energy, with electricity transferred from the turbine via a network of cables to the grid onshore.
The next step for the company will see it aim to commercialise its technology through multi-arrays. Orbital currently employs 32 staff based in offices in Orkney and Edinburgh.