Scottish engineering firm Orbital Marine Power has secured £8m to finance the ongoing operation of its O2 tidal turbine off the coast of Scotland.
The O2 uses 10-meter blades and began connected power generation last year. The company claims it is the world’s most powerful tidal turbine.
The Scottish National Investment Bank provided half of the funding, while the other £4m came from Abundance Investment, through more than 1,000 individual investors.
The two debt facilities will be serviced by the long-term sale of electricity from the turbine, forecast at around 100GW hours of clean predictable energy, delivered to the UK grid or hydrogen electrolysers over its project life.
Andrew Scott, Orbital Marine Power chief executive, said: “Completing operational finance for the first O2 is a significant moment for Orbital. Closing this funding demonstrates strong institutional and public support for the company, our proven technology and our pioneering approach to tidal stream power.
“Tidal stream energy has a vital role to play in delivering clean, predictable energy as a complementary part of the broader clean energy transition.
“Following today’s announcement, Orbital is well-placed to continue developing further projects, benefiting our wide-reaching UK supply chain.”
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The financing for Orbital comes after both the Scottish and UK government’s stepped up their support for tidal projects. Last November the UK government said it was looking to invest £20m per year in tidal stream electricity as part of the fourth allocation of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) Scheme.
This will give the marine energy sector a chance to develop its technology and lower its costs in a similar way to the UK’s world leading offshore wind industry.
Kwasi Kwarteng, UK Business and Energy Secretary, said when announcing the funding in November: “As an island nation we are perfectly placed to capitalise on clean marine energy, building on our booming offshore wind sector which is now a British industrial success story.
“We hope to see marine energy follow in the successful footprints of other renewable technologies, where we’ve seen costs fall dramatically in recent years thanks to UK government support.
“The investment today provides a major push for tidal power to become a key part of the next generation of renewable electricity projects needed to strengthen energy security as we work to reduce our dependency on volatile fossil fuels.”
Image: the O2 tidal turbine off the coast off Scotland (credit: Orbital Marine Power)
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