Shetland’s seas fuel world’s first tidal powered cars

Tidal power in Shetland is fuelling vehicles, in what is thought to be a global first.

Nova Innovation, which installed the world’s first offshore tidal array in Shetland in 2016, is now using the green energy to operate an electrical vehicle (EV) charge point.

It is located on the shores of Bluemull Sound, at Cullivoe harbour in Yell, near to where the recently expanded array has been generating energy for five years. 

Nova Innovation’s chief executive Simon Forrest said: “Our technology generates electricity from the immense power of the seas, and it is changing the way we power our lives – from how we make a cup of tea to how we travel.

“We now have the reality of tidal powered cars, which demonstrates the huge steps forward we are making in tackling the climate emergency and achieving net zero by working in harmony with our natural environment.”

Mr Forrest highlighted the opportunities arising later this year, when nations are set to converge on Scotland for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). 

 “At Nova, we deliver blue energy solutions that can be deployed all around the world, delivering clean, predictable energy direct from the sea to our clients to meet whatever energy needs they have – electricity, heat or transport,” he added.

 Fiona Nicholson, an electric car driver  from Cullivoe, welcomed the new addition as a benefit for the local community.

 “I am delighted that we have an EV charge point powered by the tide,” she said

“I work in Lerwick, so I need access to a charge point, and it is exciting to have this on my doorstep.

 “Most people in Shetland live close to the sea – to be able to harness the power of the tide in this way is a great way to use this resource.

 “I have followed Nova Innovation from when they built their test model in Leith up until now. We are very lucky to have a long stretch of coastline in Shetland and I think there will be a lot of interest in this technology and how different businesses could use it.”

Nova has highlighted the growing need to develop new sources of clean energy to power vehicles to meet carbon net zero commitments, which has seen the Scottish government ban the sale of new cars, powered solely by petrol or diesel, from 2032.

The Nova project has received grant funding through Transport Scotland to install the EV charging infrastructure as part of the clean energy transition.

 Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, said: “It’s fantastic to see that Nova Innovation is demonstrating yet again that Scotland remains at the forefront of developments in zero-emission transport solutions.

“I’m pleased that Scottish government funding is enabling the installation of a new charge point in Shetland which operates entirely on renewable tidal energy.

 “This type of innovation is key in responding to the global climate emergency and highlights the opportunities that can be realised here in Scotland as we transition to a net-zero economy.”


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