Experimental tidal scheme proposed for Bluemull Sound

Plans for another sea-based power generator in Shetland have also surfaced this week, this time an experimental tidal energy device in Bluemull Sound, off Cullivoe.

A small company in Lanark, Nova Innovations, has been developing its own tidal generation turbine and is working with Lerwick company Shetland Composites, which would be involved in building the device.

It is also hoped that the North Yell Development Council can become involved in the project via the organisation Community Energy Scotland, which has helped establish small-scale renewable systems across the country.

Nova had successful full sea trials of its generator in August off the west coast of Scotland and now hopes to put full-scale industrial devices into action next year with the first being off Yell. A works licence application was submitted to the SIC this week.

Simon Forrest of Nova praised people in Shetland for a “can do” attitude which had made the islands a desirable place for such projects, along with the excellent wind, wave and tidal resources.

He said a desire to “get things done” had been shown by those involved and he also applauded the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway for its support so far.

Not much is known about Nova’s machine except that it is a rotor-type generator not unlike a wind turbine set in the sea. Mr Forrest said Nova had invested years of research and development in the machine and it was now at a crucial stage with its funding.

Bluemull Sound is famed for its ferocious tidal race and although narrow, and a busy shipping channel, it has attracted interest from pioneering renewable energy developers in the past.

North Yell Development Council (NYDC) secretary Andrew Nisbet said the organisation had been keen to become involved whenever it heard of somebody being interested in tidal power in Bluemull Sound but none of the schemes had come to anything so far. It is hopeful that this one will. Talks about being part of the Nova project are at an early stage with nothing yet agreed.

Shetland Composites, based at Gremista, has a track record in renewable energy technology. Fred Gibson and his team built an early Pelamis wave power prototype in Lerwick in 2001. Other work has included creating a carbon fibre car, building boats and its regular work in manufacturing containers and tanks for a range of uses, including hatcheries and storage as well as making navigation buoys and markers.

Community Energy Scotland has helped scores of communities establish their own renewable systems, including wind turbines for halls and heritage centres around Shetland, for the Aith lifeboat station and a whole new power system for Foula.


Add Your Comment
  • Colin Dickie

    • December 18th, 2009 0:08

    Excellant news. Well done everyone involved!


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