The sun was shining as Orbital Marine Power’s striking yellow tidal turbine was launched from the Port of Dundee.
Manufactured by Texo Fabrications in Dundee, the Orbital O2 is the world’s most powerful tidal turbine.
Costing around £10 million, it will generate 2MW of power from tidal currents near the Orkney Islands, enough to power 2,000 homes.
The launch operation was managed by Osprey Heavy Lift. It involved the machine being transferred into the River Tay using a submersible barge.
It will undergo commissioning before being connected to the European Marine Energy Centre.
The launch marks the first vessel launch from Dundee since ship building ended over 40 years ago.
Orbital’s chief executive Andrew Scott said around 80% of the cost of the project had been spent in the UK.
He said: “The build we have completed here is an inspiring display of what a UK supply chain can achieve if given the opportunity – even under the extraordinary pressures of a pandemic.
“Over 80% of the cost has been spent in the UK economy and we expect that’s probably resulted in 70 to 80 FTE jobs, direct and indirect. This is radically different from some other forms of renewables.
“When you talk about building back greener, there’s not a better example than what we’ve achieved with the O2.”
The Scottish Government contributed £3.4m towards the project costs under the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund. Through Scottish Enterprise it is a shareholder in Orbital.
Mr Scott said he was optimistic of securing more orders once the technology had been demonstrated.
“It’s a shame to sail out of Dundee without more machines behind us,” he added.
“We would like to build more and that allows the supply chain to improve and reduce costs.
“We want to make this into a commercial business where we can support sustainable jobs working in a noble and positive endeavour to decarbonise the economy.
“At the moment we import huge amounts of power generating technology from Europe and that’s a lot of jobs. We think we can play a similar role exporting our technology.”
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