TIDAL energy specialist Orbital Marine Power has finished work on a testing programme which it reckons has underlined the potential of its floating turbine technology.

The Orkney-based company said the performance of its SR 2000 floating turbine in tests off the islands had raised the bar for firms operating in the wave and tidal energy sector, for which Scotland has great hopes.

Orbital said the turbine achieved a number of milestones in a 12-month period of operations at the European Marine Energy Centre, during which it achieved continuous power generation in a range of weather conditions.

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The company said the total electricity exported to the national grid by the SR2000 was more than had been supplied to the network in Scotland from all wave and tidal turbines in the 12 years preceding the launch of the model in 2016.

The turbine generated enough power to meet 25 per cent of the total electricity demand of the Orkney islands at times.

It maintained generation in seas featuring waves measuring 3.5 metres in height from peak to trough, while proving economical to operate.

The company has used the lessons learned from the SR2000 in the development of its latest turbine, the O2, which it expects will be able to achieve a higher output.

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Backed by Scottish entrepreneur Matt McGrath, Orbital has designed the 75 metre O2 2MW turbine to be suitable for high volume manufacturing with a global market in mind.

Orbital’s chief executive, Andrew Scott, said: “The SR2000 was an industry break-through and its success is a testimony to the team who engineered, built and operated it.

“Not only did it validate the conceptual benefits of our floating tidal solution, but it re-set the performance bar for the sector.”

Orbital noted the entire project lifecycle of the SR2000 turbine through construction, installation, operation and decommissioning was completed with small workboats or lighter.

The SR2000 was towed to the Port of Blyth in Northumberland to be decommissioned.

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Orbital said it would reclaim key components and elements of the turbine to carry out engineering inspections, with the remainder of the structure to be dismantled for recycling and disposal.

The company’s progress has generated interest in Scotland and further afield.

Orbital was awarded £3.4 million official funding in August last year, when it became the first beneficiary of the Scottish Government’s £10m Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.

In January last year the company raised £7m debt funding from around 2,300 private investors using the Abundance crowdfunding platform.

Hopes that Scotland could enjoy a marine renewables bonanza dimmed after wave energy pioneers Pelamis Wave Power and Aquamarine Power went into administration, in November 2014 and October 2015 respectively.