Nova Innovation adds 4th turbine to Shetland tidal array

Tidal energy developer Nova Innovation has expanded its tidal energy array off Scotland’s most northerly isles with the installation of a new direct-drive tidal turbine.

Nova Innovation's Eunice tidal turbine (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)
Nova Innovation’s Eunice tidal turbine (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)

The new turbine, dubbed Eunice, is already powering homes across Shetland after being installed at the Bluemull Sound, Nova Innovation informed.

The next generation of direct-drive turbine slashes the cost of tidal energy by a third – making tidal energy cost competitive with fossil fuels, according to the Scotland-based Nova Innovation, which also used the occasion to mark it’s 10th anniversary since inception.

Eunice is the first of three turbines set to double the size of the Shetland Tidal Array as part of the EnFAIT project which aims to make tidal energy a commercial reality.

It complements three other turbines installed in the array. The first Nova M100 turbine was deployed at the site in March 2016, followed by the second in August the same year, and becoming the first offshore tidal array in the world to deliver electricity to the grid. A third turbine was added to the array in early 2017.

Simon Forrest, Nova’s chief executive officer, said: “We are generating electricity from the immense power of our seas. Our proven technology is displacing fossil fuels and changing the way we power our lives.

“The global potential for this untapped, abundant and valuable source of renewable energy is enormous. We are driving down costs and branching into new markets to make tidal energy mainstream. By 2030, tidal energy will be cheaper than nuclear power and fossil fuels, providing cleaner and sustainable energy for coastal communities around the world”.

Nova’s tidal array in Shetland is part of EnFAIT (Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal) – a flagship project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

The EnFAIT project, now in its third year, has been driving the commercialisation of the tidal energy sector by improving reliability, reducing costs, and boosting the sector’s ‘bankability’.

The first half of the 5-year project has been focused on learning from the three existing turbines in the Shetland Tidal Array and proving the reliability of the technology.

The next stage of the project is focused on installing the direct drive turbines to demonstrate the falling cost of tidal energy.

Matthijs Soede, research programme officer at the European Commission, said: “By the project’s finish in 2022, Nova Innovation and its partners will have demonstrated a clear cost reduction pathway for tidal energy.

“The project will deliver a bank of evidence for its environmental and socio-economic benefits. We should be able to apply these learnings and technologies to settings across the world – putting tidal power firmly at the forefront of our energy transition”.