SHETLAND looks set to remain at the forefront of marine renewables after the Scottish government pledged more than half a million pounds towards developing a revolutionary tidal turbine to be sited off the isle of Yell.
Nova Innovation, the Edinburgh-based business behind the world’s first community-owned tidal turbine project at Cullivoe, has been awarded £573,000 towards the £1 million cost of building and testing its proposed “direct-drive tidal turbine”.
The turbine is being designed to operate without a gear box, increasing efficiency and reliability and thus reducing the cost of generating green electricity by 20 per cent.
The company hopes to be deploy its new machine for live tests in Bluemull Sound in the summer of next year on the site where it is currently testing a 30 kilowatt tidal device.
The funding came from the third round of the government’s WATERS programme to develop new marine energy prototypes worth £3.7 million.
Nova managing director Simon Forrest said the company was committed to driving down the cost of tidal power.
“Our direct-drive generator is more reliable and efficient than a conventional geared drive train; this increases the energy generated by our turbines and reduces operating costs,” he said.
“The impact is a 20 per cent reduction in lifetime cost of energy and increasing commercial return for our customers.
“This product was originally developed with the help of a Scottish Enterprise SMART award, and has benefited from a Scottish Enterprise-funded Knowledge Exchange partnership with the University of Edinburgh.
“This as an excellent example of public funding in Scotland supporting Scottish companies to bring innovative ideas from the drawing board to the market.”
Energy minister Fergus Ewing added: “I am determined that we make the most of the clean, secure and abundant energy stored in the waters around our coasts and (the WATERS award winners) are developing pioneering technologies to help us do that.”