TIDAL energy company Nova Innovation will lead a new European Union project worth over £17 million which will see its Bluemull Sound array between Yell and Unst increase in size.
The money, which comes from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, will be used to expand the array to six turbines as Europe explores how to develop marine energy sources.
In February a third 100kW turbine went live in what was the world’s first grid-connected offshore tidal array.
The EU will contribute over £13 million to the project, which will see Nova head a consortium of nine industrial, academic and research organisations from across Europe.
The “flagship” Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal project aims to increase the commercial viability of tidal power and it will run until June 2022.
Simon Forrest, chief executive officer of Nova Innovation, said: “Winning the EnFAIT [Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal] project in this very competitive call represents a huge vote of confidence in the ability of Nova Innovation and its partners to deliver.
“The project will make a major contribution to reducing the lifetime costs of tidal energy, and will boost investor confidence by providing hard-edged analytics of commercial and operational performance to inform investment decisions.”
The layout of the turbines will now be adjusted to allow array interactions and optimisation to be studied for the first time at an operational tidal energy site.
Belgian renewables firm ELSA is a partner in the Bluemull project, while the blades for the M-100 turbines have been made locally by Shetland Composites.