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Energy / Funding boost for project aiming to make tidal energy in remote areas more affordable

A Nova turbine.

TIDAL energy company Nova Innovation is to receive an £800,000 investment from the UK Government for a project which could help the sector become more affordable in remote areas.

The CREATE (Cost REduction Acceleration in Tidal Energy) project aims to cut the operation and maintenance costs of tidal energy in remote areas, in the hope to accelerate the sector towards commercial reality.

The company first began operating turbines in Bluemull Sound in Shetland, but it has since expanded across the globe.

The Scottish-based company is now developing a tidal turbine deployment and recovery system that can be used by a wide range of vessels, including fishing boats and harbour work boats.

The system will allow tidal turbines to be transported from the shore before being lowered into position on the seabed.

It will also retrieve the turbines, making routine maintenance quicker and easier.

This will make the process of deploying and maintaining tidal turbines more accessible to coastal communities.

Nova CEO Simon Forrest said: “This demonstrates the government’s commitment to tidal energy where the UK currently leads the world.

“There are sites worldwide where tidal resources are abundant but where the onshore and offshore infrastructure is not available to make tidal energy a reality.

“The CREATE project will help to unlock a global tidal energy market worth £126 billion, and displace high cost, polluting fossil fuels. We are creating a solution to make tidal energy more affordable and accessible to communities across the world.”

Energy and climate change minister Greg Hands said: “British businesses and entrepreneurs are already leading the world with innovative solutions to tackling climate change.

“This is not only good for the planet but will bring new jobs and investment across the UK.”

It comes after the UK Government announced £20 million of funding for tidal stream and wave power projects in Scotland through the Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism.

The CfD scheme is the UK Government’s primary method of encouraging investment in low carbon electricity.

The next round of the CfD auction opens on 13 December when renewable energy developers can bid for annual funding of up to £285 million – £20 million of which will now be ringfenced to marine energy projects.