Floating tidal turbine off Orkney Islands smashes generation records

A floating tidal turbine has smashed generation records in Scotland, matching the generation capacity of offshore wind turbines. The SR2000, designed by Scotrenewables Tidal Power, is the world’s largest and most powerful tidal device.

tidal turbine, tidal power, sr2000, renewable enerfy

The machine is currently undergoing grid-connected testing, which saw it generate 18 MWh over a 24-hour period. This represents a serious step forward for tidal energy, which could soon become a viable renewable technology.

Read more: Dutch wind farm to power almost 800,000 homes

The SR2000 is the culmination of years of design. The company behind the turbine, Scotrenewables Tidal Power, is based in the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland and has spent 12 years developing the device, aiming to create a low-cost generator with financial backing from the Scottish government and a number of private investors.

The turbine is composed of a floating hull, with two turbines on the lower half of the body which sit just below the sea surface, the prime position for harnessing the energy of tidal flows. The turbines are also designed to fold upwards into the hull of the generator, which reduces transportation costs.

The machine has been designed to perform in areas with fast tidal flows, such as Scotland and Canada, but can be calibrated to perform in areas with softer breaks.

The machine is undergoing testing in the Orkney Islands, Also home to the European Marine Energy Centre, which operates state-of-the-art testing facilities for tidal and wave energy installations.

This, combined with the natural tidal currents around the archipelago and its connection to the Scottish electrical grid, make the Orkneys particularly suited to the tidal energy industry.

Read more: The ultimate guide to renewable energy technologies

By working alongside the EMEC, Scotrenewables is hopeful that it can establish the SR2000 as the hallmark technology in the tidal energy industry. Tidal energy is an underused resource, and estimates indicate that globally it could generate as much as 160 TWh per year.

In the UK alone, there are more than 30 areas where tidal generators could contribute to the UK’s energy mix; internationally, there are dozens of countries where tidal energy is viable.

With more than a decade of research and development behind the project, the Scotrenewables floating turbine is at the cutting edge of tidal technology and is showing promise for the industry in the years ahead. Read more about the project by visiting their website.

The SR2000 in numbers

Weight: 500 tonnes

Length: 64 metres

Rotor Diameter: 16 meters

Rotor Speed: 16 rpm

Rated Power: 2 MW



  1. Ewa Maydell says:

    It’s been my belief for a very long time, that tidal power generation is the answer to energy demand in the UK. Around our shores tides are running 24/7. At any given time there is a stretch of coast where tide is running the fastest. This could cover all our energy requirements without coal, gas or wind.

  2. Have to confess that came here to resolve some confusion over the headline. Can floating really mean tidal? Why… yes it can! What a wonderfully innovative solution!

  3. Thom Griffin says:

    I worked with Wellstream/Flexsteel on contract with Aquamarine Energy for a wave energy /electric power unit in 2010 and was amazed a this potential to virtually eliminate the need for fossil fuel sources … Good work !!!

  4. Being from Utah of the United States. I was wondering if something like this would work in small lakes?

  5. D. Crockit says:

    A wonderful example of cleanly harnessing natural, constantly renewing energy. I hope there will be many similar machines in operation in the years to come.

  6. Alex Maxwell Findlater says:

    A brilliant advance. Just move quicker; the fabrication cost of the sails etc and installation of concrete bases for wind farms are both very expensive in energy, and money. Get it going soon!

  7. Jane Desautels says:

    I love this! I am curious though – while I realize that compared to many of the hazards already existing in the oceans (plastic and other pollution, fishing nets), the impact is probably small, what about the impact on ocean life from the active turbines? Is there an impact on fishes, birds, tide-riding and using creatures?

    • Hi Jane – good question. ScotRenewables are working alongside Marine Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage to study any potential impact – environmental monitoring has been underway since its initial testing stages, and any findings will inform future deployment plans. You can read more about this on their website: http://www.scotrenewables.com/technology-development/environment

      • That provoked a slightly different question for me…with the amount of garbage (fishing nets, plastic bags etc along with natural materials) floating in the ocean, wouldn’t the turbines suck up a lot of detritus that would affect performance?

        • Hi Jane – a fair question. Without having seen the environmental studies, there has to be some speculation. However, I would presume that rubbish or debris wouldn’t pose too much of a problem. Firstly because these turbines are blades suspended in the sea and there are no ‘holding’ spaces for rubbish to get sucked into. The tide spins the blades and then continues on its usual trajectory, so one would assume that the majority of any debris would follow the same path.

          Secondly, the blades are fairly deep below the surface, so floating surface debris would be uninterrupted. Again, this is speculation and the environmental studies will reveal more, but for now you can see how the turbine operates in a video diagram here: http://www.scotrenewables.com/technology-development/the-concept

  8. Anne Urquhart says:

    Cuan Sound, sound of Luing etc. Would probably all provide the right conditions. Might have the yachting lobby to contend with. Good luck with your endeavours.

  9. Keith Davies says:

    This very good, why would the UK Government not increase research funding into this sector, I hear it was cut, lets start to lead the world again, the Pound is weak, we can do this

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