Orbital to Supply Floating Tidal Energy Turbine for Washington State Project

Orbital O2 floating tidal turbine (Credit: Orbital Marine Power)
Orbital O2 floating tidal turbine (Credit: Orbital Marine Power)

Orbital Marine Power, a Scottish renewable energy company focused on the deployment of its pioneering floating tidal turbine, has been confirmed as the technology partner for Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO)’s proposed site off Blakely Island in Rosario Strait, Washington State.

Building on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Orbital and OPALCO in 2021, the latest update follows the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shortlisting two marine energy projects to receive $6 million for the development of a tidal energy research, development, and demonstration pilot site.

At the end of the Phase 1 term, one of the two organizations will be funded to move forward with development of a full project.

If it becomes the organization chosen at the end of the 10-month process, OPALCO proposes deployment of an Orbital O2 floating tidal energy turbine in Rosario Strait in the San Juan Islands to provide a local power supply, with further assessment set to be completed as part of Phase 1.

The Rosario Strait was identified as a viable site with strong tidal flows in proximity to OPALCO infrastructure for interconnection, with minimal environmental impacts.

“It’s positive to see OPALCO reaching this stage in an important funding process, and for their proposals to be firmly based on the deployment of Orbital technology.

“Whilst there is still substantial work to be done before we float our technology in US waters, this milestone underlines growing global appetite for the pioneering progress we are demonstrating in the floating tidal stream space,” said Andrew Scott, CEO of Orbital Marine Power.

“There are no single or simple solutions for figuring out the complexities of our future energy supply in a decarbonized world. OPALCO is exploring all possible technologies to build reliable, sustainable and carbon-free resources to meet the energy needs of San Juan County.

“Floating tidal stream energy, as delivered by the Orbital O2, is one of those technologies that could make sense for our islanded territory,” added Foster Hildreth, Managing Director of OPALCO.

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