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‘World first’ tidal turbine now producing power

The pioneering turbine brought about in a partnership between Nova Innovation and the North Yell Development Council. Photo: Colin Dickie

A COMMUNITY-OWNED tidal power turbine in the Bluemull Sound between Yell and Unst has started exporting energy to the local grid.

The turbine will power up to 30 homes, R.S. Henderson’s ice plant and Cullivoe Harbour’s industrial estate in the north of Yell.

It is a joint project developed by Leith-based tidal energy company Nova Innovation in partnership with North Yell Development Council (NYDC). The turbine has received funding from the Scottish Government’s community and renewable energy scheme (CARES) and Shetland Islands Council.

It was first installed in April and has been undergoing trials and tests. Speaking at the All-Energy Conference in Aberdeen, Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing confirmed the turbine was now producing power.

“For the first time, anywhere in the world, a community-owned tidal turbine is generating electricity,” Ewing said.“It will have a positive impact on the North Yell community and economy.”

SIC councillor and NYDC chairman Robert Henderson described it as “a tremendous moment” for North Yell.

“Having used as much local expertise as possible we’re keen to see Shetland taking a leading role in marine renewables,” he said.

Nova’s managing director Simon Forrest said he was delighted the Nova 30 turbine had been successfully deployed and was generating electricity for the local grid.

“It marks a major achievement for the wider Scottish tidal industry with over 80 per cent of Nova’s supply chain Scottish-based,” Forrest said.

“By working in close partnership with the North Yell community and our suppliers, we believe that this project demonstrates the growing confidence in the marine sector and strengthens Nova Innovation’s leading position in the emerging global marine energy industry.”

Scottish Enterprise has worked closely with Nova to help the company grow, and its director of renewables and low carbon technologies Seonaid

Vass said: “With more wave and tidal devices being tested in our waters than anywhere else in the world, Scotland is recognised as a global leader in the marine energy sector.”

He added: “The successful deployment of this device is an important step in the development of technologies in the tidal industry, and we look forward to continuing to work with the company to support its growth plans.”

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