World’s ‘most powerful’ tidal turbine launches in UK on Earth Day

The world’s “most powerful tidal turbine” was launched in the UK on Earth Day.

The 74-metre 680-tonne Orbital 02 entered the River Tay in Dundee on Thursday and will be towed to Orkney where it will use currents to generate enough energy to power up to 2,000 homes, said Orbital Marine Power, its Scotland-based developer.

Once active it will become the world’s most powerful operational tidal turbine, the firm said.

Orbital chief executive Andrew Scott said it was a “huge milestone”.

The turbine will be able to power 2,000 homes in the UK (Orbital Marine Power/PA)
The turbine will be able to power 2,000 homes in the UK (Orbital Marine Power/PA)

He said: “The O2 is a remarkable example of British cleantech innovation and the build we have completed here is an inspiring display of what a UK supply chain can achieve if given the opportunity – even under the extraordinary pressures of a pandemic.”

Orbital said in a statement: “O2 has the ability to generate enough clean, predictable electricity to meet the demand of around 2,000 UK homes and offset approximately 2,200 tonnes of CO2 production per year.”

Ben Miller, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “The launch of the O2 turbine today in Dundee deserves global attention this Earth Day, as coastal nations seek out the marine technologies that can deliver our net-zero future.

“Orbital should be very proud of this contribution to engineering and the UK supply chain, and we look forward to its operation in Orkney, a fitting home for one of Scotland’s beacons of energy innovation.”

Construction on the turbine started in 2019, with around 80% of the building materials sourced from the UK.