A plane-shaped device that will be able to power 2,000 homes in the UK by harnessing the power of the tides is being towed into position off Scotland’s Orkney Islands in the North Sea, according to Recharge news.
The 680-ton, 240-foot device, built by Scotland’s Orbital Marine Power, will be connected to the European Marine Energy Center to test the machine’s effectiveness. The center, with sites across the remote Orkney Islands, is working to develop and test new forms of tidal and wave power.
The Orbital Marine Power device, which has a pair of 52-foot-long turbines attached to two wings, is expected to produce 2 megawatts of electricity. The device was the first vessel launched from the port of Dundee since shipbuilding left the city more than 40 years ago, Recharge news said.
Compared to wind and solar power, the marine energy sector has been much slower to develop because of the difficulty of working in marine environments and the technical challenges of harnessing wave and tidal power. But Ocean Energy Europe, which represents the marine power industry, forecasts that wave and tidal power will be able to meet 10 percent of the European Union’s electricity needs by 2050.