Low-carbon Energy Initiative 30 MW Tidal Project

Low Carbon Energy Initiative MW Tidal Project
Low Carbon Energy Initiative MW Tidal Project

A low-carbon energy firm harnessing the power of waters off the coast of Scotland has received a Royal Agreement for a 30MW tidal project. Despite being fossil free, hydroelectric power has its own challenges. The initial investment cost is high and often negatively impacts local communities and wildlife. It is also almost certain that it will become more vulnerable to droughts. What if we could harness the power of the oceans themselves?

Scottish company Orbital Marine Power hopes to do just that with 2MW+ O2. Its creators claim it is the most powerful tidal turbine currently in commercial use, after 15 years of development.

Crown Estate Scotland has awarded Orbital an Option Agreement for a new tidal power project on the Westray Firth. There is a body of water in the Orkney islands where tidal velocity can exceed 3 m/s.

The European Marine Energy Center (EMEC), where the low-carbon energy company has installed a unit of O2, has been sending energy to the UK grid since July 2021. The UK government is preparing to install three more turbines after awarding contracts for difference (CfDs), the primary method of supporting low-carbon power generation, from the 4th allocation round last year.

Tidal turbines essentially work similarly to wind turbines, except that they are driven by currents of water instead of air. Orbital's 243-foot-long floating O2 platform is anchored to the seafloor with powerful anchors and placed in tidal currents. A submarine cable connects it to the nearby electrical grid.

The underwater rotors and adjustable feet of the device are used to catch strong water currents. The legs can then be raised above the surface for easy access for engineering and maintenance. In addition, the design of the rotor can be rotated to adapt to various tidal cycles.

The new part of Orbital's Orkney project will stand alongside EMEC. According to the entity, the 30 MW under the option agreement will be sufficient to power approximately 12 more O2 tidal turbines scattered across the site. In addition, Orbital has confirmed that it has the necessary grid connectivity to support the project.

Andrew Scott, CEO of Orbital Marine Power, made the following statement regarding the signing of the Crown Agreement:

“We believe that Tide projects can deliver distinct benefits while utilizing a completely predictable and safe renewable energy source as we seek to accelerate the decarbonisation of the UK energy system. We are excited to bring this vision to life in Orkney with this investment in our Westray Project.

In addition, TechnipFMC, a Franco-American offshore oil contractor, made a strategic investment in Orbital last year to “accelerate market growth and expansion,” and TechnipFMC becomes a shareholder of the business.

Ocean energy has great potential in the energy transformation, but needs to be scaled up quickly.
In terms of renewable energy, the oceans have a lot to offer. Tidal energy projects have long had great potential, but this energy source is still in its infancy. A 2018 report from the IEA referred to offshore renewable electricity generation as a “rising power in global energy”.

To achieve the net zero scenario by 2050, it must be established significantly faster with a target output of 2030TWh by 27.0. This means it has to grow at a rate of more than 33% per year from now until the end of the decade, which will require multiple fleets of Orbital's O2s.

But things are progressing. According to Power Technology, four projects have been contracted in the UK for a total of 2022 MW for 4,08.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael commented on the new venture with Orbital,

“Tidal current energy is experiencing fascinating times right now. Progress on Orbital's Westray project is a beacon of hope for the future of these islands and exemplifies why increasing grid capacity is so important for Orkney.

This encouraging news also highlights the need for stronger government policy on mainstreaming the tidal flow, including continued and expanded support in the upcoming Contracts for Difference funding round. We must intensify our progress in the coming years.

With the UK's many ocean and tidal power businesses vying for its coastline, perhaps this technology will be the answer to reliable, non-intrusive and non-intrusive renewable energy generation. Observe as we wave.

source: thenextweb

📩 16/04/2023 15:31