Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Bluemull Sound to get array of five tidal turbines

The first community-owned tidal turbine anywhere in the world was deployed in Bluemull Sound last month. Now Nova Innovation is developing a five-turbine project in the same stretch of water. Photo: Colin Dickie

COMPANIES from Edinburgh and Belgium are teaming up to build an array of five 100kW tidal turbines in the Bluemull Sound between Yell and Unst.

The news comes a few weeks after Edinburgh firm Nova Innovation successfully deployed the world’s first community owned tidal turbine in the same area.

Nova is clubbing together with Belgian green energy company ELSA for the five-turbine project entitled the Shetland Tidal Array, which will power the equivalent of 300 homes.

The single turbine already in the water, a joint project between Nova and the North Yell Development Council (NYDC), was installed in April and can power up to 30 homes, R.S. Henderson’s ice plant and Cullivoe Harbour’s industrial estate.

The larger new project is to be developed in two phases, with the first three devices to be commissioned by the end of 2015. Scottish Enterprise is supporting Nova with £1.9 million of grant and loan funding for the project and to help accelerate the company’s development of new projects across Europe.

Scotland’s energy minister Fergus Ewing has revealed that the company has secured £1.85 million from European investors to fund green energy projects in Scotland.

Ewing said: “ELSA’s decision to invest in Scotland is a testament to the confidence felt by international investors to help develop the huge wave and tidal energy resources from the waters around the Scottish coast.

“The Scottish Government and its agencies will do everything we can to ensure Scotland benefits from the significant economic opportunities the renewables industry presents.”

Nova’s managing director Simon Forrest said the partnership with ELSA would accelerate its technological development, help secure its Scottish manufacturing base and “expand the integrated supply chain here in Shetland and Scotland”.

Scottish Enterprise’s director of renewables and low carbon technologies Seonaid Vass said Scotland was “leading the world when it comes to innovation in wave and tidal energies”.

Vass said: “Seeing this tidal technology developed into in-sea tidal arrays is a significant step forward for the industry, and we will be working closely with the company to continue to support its work in this and other potential projects.”