finance

European Commission backs Orbital Marine to lead its €26.7m tidal energy project


Orbital Marine Power has been backed by the European Commission to lead a €26.7m project to deliver floating tidal energy.

The company, based in Orkney and Edinburgh, will lead a pan-European consortium to deliver the Forward-2030 project set up to accelerate the commercial deployment of floating tidal energy.

The consortium will receive €20.5m of grant support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to develop a multi-vector energy system for the future.

The system will combine predictable floating tidal energy, wind generation, grid export, battery storage and green hydrogen production.



One of Orbital Marine’s floating tidal turbines

It will see the installation of the next iteration of the Orbital turbine, integrated with a hydrogen production facility and battery storage at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

Project partners will design options for integrating large scale tidal power into future net zero emission energy systems, while developing environmental monitoring and marine spatial planning tools for large floating tidal arrays.

Orbital will act as project coordinator, as well as lead technology developer, for the project.

It should advance the company’s pioneering floating tidal turbine design, with support from technical partner SKF, which will design and build an optimised powertrain solution designed for volume manufacture.

The innovations are hoped to reduce the cost of Orbital’s technology even further and will be deployed at EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal test site off Eday.

Meanwhile, the University of Edinburgh will deliver techno-economic analysis of tidal energy, and the MaREI Centre at University College Cork will be responsible for addressing marine spatial planning issues for wide scale uptake of tidal energy.

In addition to the partnership, two project developers and two utilities have committed to join the project advisory board.

Between the advisory board and consortium members, 2,030 MegaWatts (MW) of tidal energy sites have already been identified and are under various stages of development.

Oliver Wragg, Orbital’s commercial director, said: “This endorsement of the Orbital technology by the European Commission is a huge vote of confidence in our capability to deliver commercially viable tidal energy.

“We now have a focused and highly experienced consortium dedicated to the delivery of tidal energy and committed to accelerating its future uptake.

“This alignment of interest sets Forward-2030 on course to have a meaningful impact as we build towards large scale commercially viable tidal energy projects.”

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