A tidal turbine weighing 680 metric tons and dubbed “the world’s most powerful” has started grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, an archipelago located north of mainland Scotland. CNBC reports: In an announcement Wednesday, Scottish engineering firm Orbital Marine Power explained how its 2 megawatt O2 turbine had been anchored in a body of water called the Fall of Warness, with a subsea cable linking it to a local electricity network on land. It’s expected that the turbine, which is 74 meters long, will “operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years,” the company said, and have “the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of around 2,000 UK homes.”
The turbine is also set to send power to a land-based electrolyzer that will generate so-called green hydrogen. In a statement, Orbital Marine Power’s CEO, Andrew Scott, described Wednesday’s news as “a major milestone for the O2.” Funding for the O2’s construction has come from public lenders via Abundance Investment. The Scottish government has also provided Â£3.4 million (around $4.72 million) of support through its Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund. Looking to the future, Orbital Marine Power said it was “setting its sights” on the commercialization of its tech via the deployment of multi-megawatt arrays.