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Massive Tidal Turbine Begins Generating Energy

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The O2 turbine is the most powerful of its kind in the world.

Windmills, in layman’s terms, generate energy from the motion of their blades caused by strong winds. While the wind blows fairly reliably in certain parts of the world, it’s not always blowing, which is why windmills only work as part of the renewable energy equation. But in a similar vein to windmills, there’s another natural force with kinetic energy to spare, and unlike the wind, it’s always moving: the ocean waves. Ocean turbines have been a topic of innovation for a couple of decades now, but the newest turbine on the block dwarfs all of them.

Recently, Scottish engineering firm Orbital Marine Power announced that their newest tidal turbine had been successfully anchored in a Scottish body of water known as the Fall of Warness. It’s already been hooked up to the local power grid via subsea cable, and has begun supplying energy from the water’s waves.

The O2, which weighs in at a massive 680 tons and measures an impressive 74 meters long, has been dubbed the world’s most powerful tidal turbine. The O2 will “operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years,” Orbital Marine Power said, and will have “the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of around 2,000 UK homes.”

According to the the Scottish government’s Cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport, Michael Matheson, Scotland is “ideally-placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy.”

“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” he added.

Not only is the O2 providing power to homes through the waves, part of its muscle is being sent to an electrolyzer installation on land that’s generating clean-burning hydrogen fuel. It’s green energy on two counts!