Orbital-led group to take on EUR-26.7m multi-vector energy project

The Orbital O2 tidal turbine. Source: Orbital Marine Power Ltd

September 13 (Renewables Now) - Scottish engineering firm Orbital Marine Power Ltd, developer of the O2 tidal energy turbine, will lead a pan-European consortium to deliver the EUR-26.7-million (USD 31.5m) FORWARD-2030 project, which concerns a multi-vector energy system.

Said system will combine predictable floating tidal energy, wind generation, grid export, battery storage and green hydrogen production. More specifically, it will utilise the next iteration of Orbital’s turbine, to be deployed next to the existing O2 unit at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Fall of Warness tidal test site off Eday in Orkney. EMEC will host the demonstration, facilitate hydrogen production, deliver a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme and develop a live environmental monitoring system and test programme, the announcement says.

“FORWARD-2030 will show what the energy system of the future looks like by combining offshore renewable generation, with onshore wind and EMEC’s onshore hydrogen and storage facilities – all done in the novel context of an island grid. The project represents a major step forward for the commercialisation of tidal energy and we are delighted it has received this significant stamp of approval from the European Commission,” said Rob Flynn, commercial manager of EMEC.

Orbital will be the project coordinator and the lead technology developer for the project. It will be supported by technical partner SKF to advance its floating tidal turbine design. The latter will deliver a number of technical innovations to boost rated power and bolster turbine performance.

Meanwhile, Engie Laborelec, part of the Engie business unit Tractebel, will assess large-scale integration of tidal energy to Europe’s energy system, while also working on a smart energy management system and an operational forecasting tool. The University of Edinburgh will be in charge of conducting techno-economic analysis of tidal energy, whilst the MaREI Centre at University College Cork will address marine spatial planning issues.

The name FORWARD-2030 stands for the Fast-tracking Offshore Renewable energy With Advanced Research to Deploy 2030MW of tidal energy before 2030. The project will run from 2021 to 2025. The consortium behind it will get EUR 20.5 million of grant support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.178)

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