Orbital Marine Power’s, O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, arrived in Orkney Waters on Saturday, 24th April, following launch from the Port of Dundee on Thursday 22nd April.

The turbine was towed to Orkney by Leask Marine’s new multicat vessel, the C-Force, in a voyage that took two days.

The turbine will be temporarily moored at Deer Sound while final commissioning is completed along with a programme of tow trials before installation at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Fall of Warness tidal test site for a long-term project. Following connection to the national grid, EMEC will undertake an independent power performance assessment for Orbital.

The O2 is Orbital Marine Power’s first commercial demonstrator and represents the culmination of more than 15 years of product development and testing in Orkney. It is envisaged that the O2 will become the basis for first commercial sales of the technology.

Speaking about the arrival of the O2, The Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP for Orkney and Shetland, said, “the arrival of the O2 turbine in Orkney is a milestone in the expansion of marine renewables in the isles. It is a reminder – if we needed one – that the Northern Isles have enormous potential to lead the world in tidal energy. What is needed now is support from the Government in order to leverage this potential and get to the next stage in deployment. The proof of concept is there – today should be a spur for ministers to commit to the future of this vital green technology and provide the fiscal levers that can get us to commercial rollout. If there are any doubters in marine renewables left in government, I would invite them to come see the potential here for themselves.”

Matthew Finn, EMEC Commercial Director said, “The O2 is the third Orbital turbine to be tested at EMEC’s tidal test site, a great case study showing the value of testing multiple iterations in the sea gradually increasing in scale and optimising design towards a commercial product. The O2’s arrival in Orkney also marks a major milestone in the Horizon2020 FloTEC project, which will see the O2 demonstrated in the sea and EMEC delivering an independent power performance assessment.”

Finn went on to praise Orbital’s achievement and commitment to the building back better agenda, “Congratulations to Orbital on completing the build of the O2. With 80% UK supply content followed by local employment through long term operation; this shows the economic benefits of tidal energy in supporting green recovery in the UK and the opportunity for the UK to be the world-leader in tidal energy, providing adequate support is provided for continued development and demonstration.