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Energy / Isles ‘leading the way’ in tidal energy as fourth turbine installed at Bluemull Sound

The latest tidal turbine installed has no gearbox. Photos: Nova Innovation

A FOURTH 100-kilowatt turbine has now been installed at the tidal energy array in Bluemull Sound.

The new direct-drive turbine, called Eunice, is already supplying electricity into the local grid, developer Nova Innovation has said.

It also coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Edinburgh-based tidal energy company.

The new turbine is the first of three that will be installed in the array as part of the EU-funded EnFAIT project, which is led by Nova and includes a number of industry and academic partners.

The project aims to demonstrate the economic viability of tidal power – and Nova claims that the next generation of direct-drive turbine, which have no gearbox, cuts the cost of tidal energy by a third, making it cost competitive with fossil fuels.

The 100kW tidal turbine was deployed on the seabed earlier this autumn.

Nova Innovation’s offshore manager Tom Wills said: “As a Shetlander it’s really satisfying to see our islands leading the way in commercialising tidal energy, which is a global market.

“Deploying this new direct drive turbine was a huge team effort, made possible by our excellent local contractors and suppliers.

“Three years of research, design, fabrication and testing culminated in us lowering the turbine onto its foundation in a thirty-minute window between the flood and ebb tides.

“It’s an exciting project to be involved in and we’re delighted to be supplying Shetland with more electricity from Bluemull Sound.”

The €20.2 million EnFait project is set to run through to 2022.

By the end of the scheme there should be six turbines operating in Bluemull Sound.

The offshore array in Shetland was hailed as the first of its kind in the world. It has generated electricity for more than four years.

Reflecting, meanwhile, on the future for Nova Innovation after its first decade in business, chief executive officer Simon Forrest said the team are “very excited” for what lies ahead.

“The global potential for this untapped, abundant and valuable source of renewable energy is enormous,” he said.

“We are driving down costs and branching into new markets to make tidal energy mainstream.

“By 2030, tidal energy will be cheaper than nuclear power and fossil fuels, providing cleaner and sustainable energy for coastal communities around the world.”