THE most powerful floating tidal turbine in the world has attracted funding of £3.4 million from the Scottish Government.

Orbital Marine Power has been awarded the cash as the first recipient of the Scottish Government’s £10m Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.

It will be used to deliver the next generation O2 2MW Floating Tidal Energy Turbine, which is the culmination of more than 15 years of cutting edge research and development and real-life testing.

The turbine is capable of powering more than 1700 homes per year and is the world’s most advanced and powerful tidal turbine.

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “We have established a world lead in marine renewable technologies and this project represents a significant step forward in technological development.

“We are delighted this landmark turbine, designed by an innovative Scottish company, will also be built in Scotland.

“We believe tidal energy technology can not only play an important role in our own future energy system, but it has substantial export potential, and this fund will help move tidal technologies closer to commercial deployment.

“However, the large scale roll-out of both tidal and wave energy technologies has been harmed by the UK Government’s decision in 2016 to abandon its commitment to provide ring-fenced funding support.

“UK ministers must act quickly to provide the revenue support this exciting and innovative sector requires to achieve its economic potential.”

The Saltire Fund, which supports the development of tidal energy in Scotland by driving innovation and cost reduction, was announced in February and is open until December.

O2 features a number of new innovations, including up to 50% greater energy capture through enlarged rotors and variable pitch control for optimised blade and braking performance. It will be built in Scotland and installed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

The turbine rotors can be turned 360 degrees to allow power to be extracted from both tidal directions.

Another Scottish firm – Texo Group – will manufacture the device at its new quayside facilities in Dundee. Gray Fabrication in Cupar will make key components from materials supplied by Liberty Steel in Motherwell.

Scotland has an estimated one-third of the UK’s tidal stream resources and two-thirds of the UK’s wave resources.

Andrew Scott, Orbital’s chief executive officer, said: “We greatly appreciate the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment and support for tidal stream energy, and this award will enable us to deliver a truly exciting and transformational project and continue the proud tradition of Scottish innovation and engineering.

“The O2 project will demonstrate how this emerging industrial sector has the ability to deliver new jobs and open up diversification opportunities for the UK’s supply chain in a growing global market whilst pioneering solutions for a zero carbon future.”