UK peer-to-peer ethical investment company Abundance announced it closed its largest fund raise to date, raising £7 million (US$8.9 million) for Scottish tidal energy company Orbital Marine Power.
Orbital Marine Power (formerly Scotrenewables Tidal Power) will use the funds to build its first production model Orbital O2 2MW turbine, a floating tidal turbine platform that can be towed, installed and easily maintained.
The project already has secured a number of supporting grants as well as equity funding, including from the Scottish Government.
The Abundance offer of 2.5-year debentures with an annual return of 12% attracted 2,278 investors, with over half investing via an Innovative Finance ISA for a tax-free return. The average investment was about £3,000 (US$3,834), with the project attracting particularly strong interest from investors in Scotland, who put in 50% more on average, at £4,500 (US$5,751).
Orbital Marine Power plans to build its Orbital O2 2MW turbine over the next 12 months, for deployment at Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) during 2020. The Orbital O2 turbine comprises a 73-m-long floating superstructure, supporting two 1-MW turbines on either side. The new turbine will draw upon the success of Orbital’s SR2000 turbine, which was launched in 2016 and produced in excess of 3 GWh of electricity over its initial 12-month test program at EMEC.
“We are delighted with this funding result; it’s a terrific endorsement of our technology and a clear signal that the UK public is hugely supportive of seeing tidal energy brought into the domestic and global energy mixes,” said Andrew Scott, chief executive officer of Orbital Marine Power. “The whole team at Orbital Marine are excited to be moving forwards with this flagship project and deliver the first O2 unit for costs similar to offshore wind and so provide the basis for a new and sustainable industry. This a journey we are now honoured to be taking with thousands of new investors, thanks to Abundance.”
Abundance is a direct investment platform that launched in 2012. Investors choose which project or business to invest in from just £5 (US$6.39). More than 5,500 people have invested over £85 million (US$108.6 million) directly into projects via the Abundance platform, with more than £18 million (US$23 million) returned to investors, according to a press release.