Horizon 2020 picks Nova Innovation to lead €20M tidal arrays project

European Union’s Horizon 2020 has selected Nova Innovation to lead the project that aims to increase the commercial viability of tidal power through tidal arrays optimization.

The project, titled Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal (EnFAIT), will build on Nova’s existing operational tidal power station in Bluemull Sound off the Shetland Islands in Scotland, which was one of the world’s first grid-connected offshore array of tidal energy turbines.

It will extend the Bluemull Sound array to six turbines and seek to demonstrate that high array reliability and availability can be achieved using best practice maintenance regimes.

Also, the layout of the turbines will be adjusted to enable array interactions and optimization to be studied for the very first time at an operational tidal energy site, Nova Innovation said.

Total project costs are expected to be €20.2 million, to which the EU Horizon 2020 Program will be contributing €14.9 million.

The EnFAIT project will begin this July, and will run until June 2022, bringing together a consortium of nine leading industrial, academic and research organizations from across Europe.

Simon Forrest, Chief Executive Officer of Nova Innovation, said: “The project will make a major contribution to reducing the lifetime costs of tidal energy, and will boost investor confidence by providing hard-edged analytics of commercial and operational performance to inform investment decisions.”

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, labelled the project an important pathfinder for the tidal energy industry in Europe.

Gruet said: “This announcement is a significant development, and further proof that the tidal energy industry is now in take-off mode. The EnFAIT project is an important pathfinder project and will help strengthen Europe’s global technology leadership in tidal energy. The knowledge, experience and expertise gained from projects like this will pave the way for a new industrial manufacturing sector with a supply chain based firmly in Europe.”

Welcoming the announcement, Sarah Beattie-Smith, Climate and Energy Policy Officer at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland, said:

“With some of the most powerful tides in Europe, Scotland is well placed to lead in developing this promising technology, which will help to cut climate emissions and create green jobs right across the country.

“We hope the kind of innovation and investment shown in this major new project, inspires politicians and others to give backing to ground breaking ideas in other areas of energy use like heat and transport, to power Scotland towards its target of generating half of all Scotland’s energy needs from renewables by 2030.”

The EnFAIT Project was awarded under the competitive call for ‘Scaling up in the ocean energy sector to arrays’, launched last year by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

In addition to Nova Innovation, some of the other partners in the project include ELSA, ORE Catapult, Wood Group, and Mojo Maritime.