Orbital Marine Power Ltd, the 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, this latest update follows the US 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 organisations will be funded to move forward with development of a full project.

If it is the organisation chosen at the end of the ten-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 and further assessment will 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.

Andrew Scott, CEO of Orbital Marine Power, said: “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.”

Foster Hildreth, Managing Director of OPALCO, said: “There are no single or simple solutions for figuring out the complexities of our future energy supply in a decarbonised 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.”

13 March 2024