Photo: EV charge point in Shetland, and Nova Innovation’s tidal turbine (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)

Cars powered by tidal energy facilitating Scotland’s drive to net-zero

Scottish tidal energy company Nova Innovation has created the first ever electric vehicle (EV) charge point in Shetland where drivers can ‘fill up’ directly from a tidal power source.

Photo of EV charge point in Shetland, and Nova Innovation’s tidal turbine (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)
EV charge point in Shetland, and Nova Innovation’s tidal turbine (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)

The EV charge point is located on the shores of Bluemull Sound, at Cullivoe harbour on the island of Yell in Shetland.

Beneath the water, Nova Innovation’s tidal turbines have been powering homes and businesses in Shetland for more than five years.

According to the company, the island’s vehicles can now be powered purely by the tide.

Simon Forrest, CEO of Nova Innovation, 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”.

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

Nicholson said: “I am delighted that we have an EV charge point powered by the tide. 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”.

Traditional combustion engine vehicles are responsible for around a fifth of all carbon emissions in the UK.

In the push towards net zero, the Scottish government has banned the sale of new cars powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2032, accelerating the need to develop new sources of clean energy to power vehicles.

The Nova Innovation 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”.

Just last month Nova Innovation announced a ground-breaking project to produce Scotch whisky distilled by tidal power in the Sound of Islay.

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The company said it plans to install a series of tidal turbines between the isles of Islay and Jura in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, creating clean, renewable power generated by the tide that will displace fossil fuels used on the islands, and power local whisky distilleries.