Photo: Nova Innovation's tidal turbine (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)

Nova Innovation inks lease for 15MW tidal energy array at Yell Sound

Scottish tidal energy company Nova Innovation has secured a seabed lease from the Crown Estate Scotland to develop its largest tidal energy array to date at Yell Sound in Shetland.

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

Nova has been awarded an Option Agreement from Crown Estate Scotland to develop a 15MW tidal array at Yell Sound, between the islands of Yell and Bigga, that is predicted to meet over a third of household electricity demand in Shetland.

The new tidal energy site will build on the success of the world’s first offshore tidal array that Nova created in neighboring Bluemull Sound.

Since 2016, the Shetland Tidal Array in Bluemull Sound has been transforming the raw power of the North Atlantic into clean, predictable energy, powering Shetland’s homes, businesses and grid. 

Simon Forrest, CEO of Nova Innovation, said: “Having been at the center 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 decarbonizing the Shetland Islands.

“Building on Shetland’s success with the world’s first offshore tidal array in Bluemull Sound, we are delighted to be working with local partners to deliver another world-leading project.”

Nova’s tidal turbines sit on the seabed, so there is no visual impact on the land and seascapes of Shetland, with ships free to pass above them.

Comprehensive environmental monitoring of Nova’s turbines in Bluemull Sound have demonstrated that they work in harmony with marine wildlife, according to the company.

Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for net-zero and energy, said: “This agreement between Nova Innovation and Crown Estate Scotland marks another important milestone in commercializing tidal energy in Scotland, putting Shetland at the heart of this exciting technology and its capability to deliver secure and reliable clean energy to support our climate targets.

Sian Wilson, head of emerging technology at Crown Estate Scotland, added: “We’re pleased to support the marine energy sector, and efforts by island communities such as the Shetland Islands to decarbonize their energy systems.

“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.”

Nova has a strong track record of using highly skilled local companies and local manufacturing and fabrication for its projects.

Companies in Shetland currently manufacture blades, steel structures and provide vessels and services for Nova, while the turbines will be manufactured at its facility in Edinburgh.

To remind, Nova recently secured a 12MW berth together with its French tidal energy partner Sabella at one of the world’s largest tidal energy sites off the coast of Anglesey in Wales.

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In addition, the company has received permit from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to install five 100kW in-stream tidal turbines in Petit Passage in Nova Scotia as part of the first phase of the larger tidal energy array project in Canada.

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