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Tidal energy project’s lease extended to increase capacity

THE TEAM behind the tidal energy array at Bluemull Sound has secured an extension of its seabed lease to allow it to expand its operation.

Nova Innovation will see the capacity of what was the world’s first grid-connected offshore tidal array increase from 0.5MW to 2MW after Crown Estate Scotland extended its lease until 2041.

The Edinburgh based company previously announced plans to expand its tidal array near Yell from three 100kW turbines to six by 2020 as part of new European Union project worth over £17 million.

The extension of the lease increases the prospect of the array becoming a “longer-term operation in Shetland”, the company said.

Nova Innovation’s Shetland manager Patrick Ross-Smith said the extension is a “big vote of confidence from Crown Estate Scotland for tidal energy”.

“The experience and data we have developed from deploying and operating the turbines in the world’s first offshore tidal energy array are helping us to optimise our technology and processes,” he added.

“This lease extension paves the way for expanding the array, using the next generation of Nova turbines: further driving down the costs of this clean and predictable source of renewable energy.”

Mark McKean, development manager for Crown Estate Scotland, added: “With their ongoing work to further enhance the technology to be utilised at the Shetland site, Nova is demonstrating that tidal energy projects are truly coming of age.

“During the last 12 months we have witnessed a significant upturn in tidal energy deployments within Scottish waters and Nova’s existing operations at Bluemull Sound have added to that.

“We look forward to seeing further progress at this site and benefits for the local supply chain in the coming years.”

The first Nova M-100 turbine was installed in March 2016 before two more were put in place and it has been “generating to full power across all tidal conditions”.

Belgian renewables firm ELSA is a partner in the Bluemull project, while the blades for the M-100 turbines were made locally by Shetland Composites.