The success of any new project inevitably comes down to money and the ability to pay for the development and testing. With tidal energy projects this funding is vital due to the lengthy lead time involved.
This is why the announcement that Belgian energy company ELSA has committed an investment of £1.85 million to the Shetland Tidal Array is such good news for the prospects for future success of the project. Nova Innovation, developer of the tidal turbines to be used in the project, is also being supported by Scottish Enterprise to the tune of £1.9 million with grant and loan funding.
The project will consist of five 100 kW tidal turbines in the Bluemull Sound and this will produce enough power to provide electricity for 300 homes. The first three devices are to be commissioned by the end of 2015 and is the first of two phases that will comprise the implementation of the array.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP said:
“ELSA’s decision to invest in Scotland is a testament to the confidence felt by international investors to help develop the huge wave and tidal energy resources from the waters around the Scottish coast.
“The Scottish Government and its agencies will do everything we can to ensure Scotland benefits from the significant economic opportunities the renewables industry presents.
“Scotland’s record in attracting international investment is very strong. Last week’s Ernst & Young Attractiveness Survey revealed that foreign investment to Scotland in 2013 reached its highest level since 1997.”
This announcement has come just a week after Nova Innovation announced the successful deployment of the first community owned tidal turbine in Shetland. it will become an extension of this successful project.
More details: Shetland Seabed Tidal Turbine Generating Electricity
ELSA is the energy subsidiary of IDETA. The company was formed in 2010 and has been principally involved in wind farms and biomass energy. Together, ELSA and Nova Innovations have formed Shetland Green Electricity Ltd to develop the Shetland Tidal Array. The partners also plan to work together on potential tidal projects in other parts of Europe.
By providing this significant level of funding it is hoped that there will be an acceleration in the growth of new tidal projects across Europe.
There are further implications to the other partner in the agreement, Nova Innovations with company Managing Director Scott Forrest saying
“This partnership agreement will accelerate Nova Innovation’s technology development; help secure the company’s Scottish manufacturing base and expand the integrated supply chain here in Shetland and Scotland. The pan-European vision of the partnership will open up export markets and deliver real growth for the marine energy sector.”
Nova Innovations will be seeking further backing from the Belgian Government when it travels to the European Parliament in Brussels to present its renewable ambitions for the future.