One in three homes could be tidal-powered by new array

A new tidal energy scheme is hoped to power a third of all Shetland’s homes, confirming its role “at the forefront of the green energy revolution”.

Nova Innovation, which built the world’s first tidal array at Bluemull Sound in 2016, has today (Wednesday) announced plans for its largest ever development at Yell Sound.

The tidal pioneers said the new 15MW array between Yell and Bigga would build on its success in transforming the “raw power of the North Atlantic into clean, predictable energy, powering Shetland’s homes, businesses and grid”.

It would be almost four times as powerful as the existing array at Bluemull Sound.

Nova’s chief executive Simon Forrest said: “Having been at the centre of the oil and gas industry for 50 years, Shetland is now at the forefront of the green energy revolution, and we are excited to play our part in decarbonising the Shetland Islands.”

Mr Forrest said he was “delighted to be working with local partners to deliver another world-leading project.”

Nova has already been using Shetland companies to manufacture turbine blades, steel structures and provide vessels and services.

The new turbines, which will be manufactured at Nova’s facility in Edinburgh, sit on the seabed, so there is no visual impact and ships can pass above them.

The company claims environmental monitoring of its Bluemull turbines show they “work in harmony with marine wildlife”.

The Scottish government’s cabinet secretary for net zero and energy Michael Matheson said the development marked another important milestone in commercialising tidal energy in Scotland.

Mr Matheson said it would put Shetland “at the heart of this exciting technology”.

“With our abundant natural resources and expertise, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy both here and across the world,” he added.

Nova said its Shetland projects proved tidal energy can generate substantial levels of clean energy for coastal populations.

Crown Estate Scotland (CES), which granted Nova permission to develop on the seabed, said it was pleased to help island communities decarbonise their energy systems.

Head of emerging technology at CES Sian Wilson added: “It’s important for Scotland to have a diverse renewable energy supply to deliver on the country’s net zero ambitions in the coming decades and predictable tidal power at scale will play a valuable part in achieving that goal.”


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