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Energy / Step change in tidal energy as large project for Yell Sound secures seabed lease

A Nova Innovation turbine on the seabed in Bluemull Sound

A FIFTEEN megawatt tidal energy array is set to be developed in Yell Sound after renewable energy developer Nova Innovation reached an agreement with Crown Estate Scotland for the lease of seabed between Yell and the island of Bigga.

The project is designed to be 25 times larger than Nova’s current project in Bluemull Sound and should, once completed, meet over a third of household electricity demand in Shetland.

The tidal energy pioneer said the project will boost decarbonisation of the local energy supply.

The company’s chief executive Simon Forrest said the project will build on the success of the world’s first offshore tidal array in neighbouring Bluemull Sound.

“Having been at the centre of the oil and gas industry for 50 years, Shetland is now at the forefront of the green energy revolution, and we are excited to play our part in decarbonising the Shetland Islands,” he said.

Nova’s tidal turbines sit on the seabed, so there is no visual impact on the land and seascapes of Shetland, with ships free to pass above them. The company has recently expanded across Europe, Asia and North America with its tidal energy turbines.

Forrest added that the company had a strong track record in using highly skilled local companies and local manufacturing and fabrication.

Companies in Shetland currently manufacture blades and steel structures and provide vessels and services for Nova. The turbines will be manufactured at Nova’s facility in Edinburgh.

Head of emerging technology at CES Sian Wilson said: “It’s important for Scotland to have a diverse renewable energy supply to deliver on the country’s net zero ambitions in the coming decades and predictable tidal power at scale will play a valuable part in achieving that goal.”

Cabinet secretary for net zero Michael Matheson added: “This agreement between Nova Innovation and Crown Estate Scotland marks another important milestone in commercialising tidal energy in Scotland, putting Shetland at the heart of this exciting technology and its capability to deliver secure and reliable clean energy to support our climate targets.

“With our abundant natural resources and expertise, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy both here and across the world.”