Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC) has signed a pivotal agreement with Orbital Marine Power, Ltd. (Orbital), developers of the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, to bring the Isle of Wight a step closer to producing tidal energy.
PTEC has gained offshore consents to place tidal turbines in the sea off the south coast of the Isle of Wight, and Orbital is the first company to sign up, with an initial target deployment of up to 15MW by the end of 2025.
Each of Orbital’s 2MW O2 turbines can generate sufficient clean, predictable electricity to power around 2,000 UK homes and offset approximately 2,200 tonnes of CO2 production per year. The company recently launched the first O2 from the Port of Dundee, where it was manufactured with 80% UK supply chain content, before towing the unit to the Orkney Islands where it will be grid connected at the European Marine Energy Centre in the coming weeks and enter commercial operation for the next 15 years.
Rob Stevens, Chairman of PTEC said: “This is an important moment for the Isle of Wight economy. Having one of the most advanced tidal turbines in the world producing clean, predictable energy on our site will be a huge step forward for Britain and the Island. It will establish the Isle of Wight and the Solent at the centre of an exciting new marine energy sector, unlocking investment, jobs and a new future.
“The Orbital O2 is a remarkable innovation that sets a new benchmark for marine generation. We are thrilled to have the team on board.”
Oliver Wragg, Commercial Director of Orbital said: “This is a fantastic step for Orbital and the UK tidal power sector. This agreement will enable a commercial tidal energy project that will pave the way for tidal steam energy to make a meaningful and complementary contribution to the UK’s transition to net zero. The tidal resource off the Isle of Wight has enormous potential to provide predictable, clean power; and we are excited that PTEC has recognised our proven credibility in delivering world leading tidal energy projects. This project can be the touchpaper that ignites an exciting new UK wide supply chain that secures local jobs as tidal energy plays its part in the energy transition.”
PTEC, Orbital and other industry leaders have worked with the UK Government and we are confident they can create the right market parameters to support the UK tidal energy sector. The partners are hopeful that when the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) opens its fourth Allocation Round for Contracts for Difference (CfDs) in December this year, it will include provisions for enabling a new green industrial sector to be built within the UK.
For more information see perpetuustidal.com.
Tidal energy contributes to UK and international targets for renewable energy generation and PTEC will help achieve the government’s declared objective of Net Zero by 2050. It is estimated that the tides around the Isle of Wight have the capacity to generate around 300MW of renewable power.
Last year Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of State for Business, stated that he was considering ring-fencing capacity in the next Contract for Difference round for wave and tidal energy projects. The Secretary said he is “very sympathetic” to running a “pot within a pot” to support development of marine energy schemes. This commitment is crucial if tidal power is to reach its potential in the UK.
PTEC, EMEC and Orbital are seeking to maximise the potential of the site, which is located in a 5km² area within the English Channel, approximately 2.5km south of St Catherine’s Point and around 6km from Ventnor. A public consultation will launch shortly to explain the proposals in full and seek the community’s views. While the offshore part of the project is consented, PTEC is reapplying for planning permission for its onshore substation.
About Orbital Marine Power Ltd.
Orbital Marine Power Ltd is an innovative Scottish engineering company, headquartered in Orkney, and focused on the development of a tidal energy turbine technology capable of producing a dramatic reduction in the cost of energy from tidal currents. The Orbital technology has been under continuous engineering development, including rigorous testing of scaled systems in both tank conditions and open ocean environments since the company was founded in 2002. The company currently employs 32 staff with offices in Orkney and Edinburgh.
The O2 turbine has a long hull structure with twin 1MW power generating nacelles at the end of retractable leg structures designed to give low-cost access to all major components for through life servicing. 10m blades give the O2 more than 600m² of swept area to capture flowing tidal energy. The floating structure is held on station with a four-point mooring system where each mooring chain has the capacity to lift over 50 double decker buses. Electricity is transferred from the turbine via a dynamic cable to the seabed and a static cable along the seabed to the local onshore electricity network.
The O2 project has been supported through funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the FloTEC project and the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg North West Europe Programme under the ITEG project. This project has also received support under the framework of the OCEANERA-NET COFUND project and co-funding by the European Union’s Horizon2020 research and innovation programme. The build of the O2 was also supported by the Scottish Government under the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.