An image showing the concept for Nova Innovation's tidal energy array (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)

Wales funds Nova Innovation’s ‘blue energy island’ tidal scheme

Scottish tidal energy company Nova Innovation has secured an investment of £1.2 million from the Welsh government for its Enlli tidal energy project in North Wales.

Nova Innovation's tidal energy array concept (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)
An image showing the concept for Nova Innovation's tidal energy array (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)
Nova Innovation’s tidal energy array concept (Courtesy of Nova Innovation)

The funding will support the environmental consenting and engineering design work for the project that will see five 100 kW turbines installed on the seabed by Nova Innovation, which plans to add additional turbines in the future.

Aside from developing a new source of clean energy, the £1.2 million investment creates opportunities for sustainable business and jobs for local people in the new low carbon economy, Nova Innovation said.

The Enlli project presents the opportunity to generate electricity from the natural ebb and flow of the tide between Ynys Enlli – ‘The Island in the Currents’ – and the mainland of the Llŷn Peninsula.

It has the potential to help the ‘Island in the Currents’ switch from a dependency on diesel generation to become the world’s first blue energy island.

Lesley Griffiths, the Welsh government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “As Wales looks to respond to the challenges posed by the climate emergency, we need to harness the ambition and innovative spirit of renewable energy providers like Nova, ensuring that their expertise and experience can be put to good use in Wales.

“Wales was at the leading edge of the first industrial revolution and through projects like these we can play a leading role in the green industrial revolution taking place today”.

Nova Innovation’s tidal turbines are completely hidden beneath the surface of the sea, with none of the visual siting issues faced by wind, solar and conventional fossil fuels.

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Environmental monitoring of Nova Innovation’s Shetland Tidal Array in Bluemull Sound, which includes regular seabird and marine mammal surveys of the area and use of underwater cameras to monitor wildlife around the turbines has not detected any negative impacts on marine wildlife, according to the company.

Simon Forrest, Nova Innovation’ss Chief Executive Officer, said: “Harnessing the immense, natural power of the tides in Swnt Enlli (Bardsey Sound) will provide clean ocean energy for the local community and help regenerate the local economy. Our tidal turbines have been powering the Shetland grid for over four years and we are very excited about helping drive the blue economy in North Wales”.

Welcoming the announcement, Jess Hooper, from industry body Marine Energy Wales, added: “This is yet another boost for the marine energy sector in Wales, and helps us deepen our Celtic connections as this project draws on expertise and learning from the world’s first offshore tidal array – three tried, tested and monitored turbines installed in the Shetland Islands, Scotland.

“Transferring this knowledge and experience to North Wales will have far reaching benefits, for communities, business, the sector and, crucially, for wider action on climate change”.