Commercial deployment of ocean tidal technology to spark new wave of green energy

Orbital Marine Power have secured over £7 million for the world’s most powerful tidal stream turbine, allowing the technology to go into commercial production. Based in Scotland, the company is looking to launch the commercial operation and deployment of its Orbital O2 2MW turbine.
Despite developments and research stemming back to the first half of the 1900s, tidal energy power generation is still very much at an infant stage in terms of full-scale commercial deployment. There are currently three major technologies being developed and deployed for generation of tidal energy, each at a varying stage of commercial viability. With vast potential for power generation using the forces of tidal flows, there is a considerable market for this technology. Marine environments, however, are not conducive to the deployment of these high-value installations which has meant that development has been rather slow-paced.
With scalable, low-maintenance, and easily serviceable technology being developed, the aforementioned turbine being an example, this industry is poised for growth. Testing has shown the technology to be perform well in various environments as well as provide a significant amount of power output relative to the size of the equipment when compared to, for example, wind energy which has become ubiquitous in the renewable energy landscape. Though this is a renewable technology and a source of clean energy, environmental issues of the installations themselves are a concern. As part of the research and development that has already taken place, studies are cataloguing and assessing the impact of this technology in marine ecosystems.
Perhaps the biggest barrier in development of tidal energy is the cost. With development costs coming down, and return on investment potential increasing this barrier will soon disappear and we will start to see large scale development of this resource.