Shetland Seabed Tidal Turbine Generating Electricity

The newest tidal turbine has been put into operation at a depth of 100 feet on the seabed in the Bluemull Sound in Shetland. This location sits the device between the islands of Unst and Yell. The turbine is the Nova 30 tidal turbine and has been developed by the Leith-based tidal energy company Nova Innovation.

The project that is responsible for this new step in tidal power production has been brought about by a partnership between Nova Innovation and North Yell Development Council. Funding has been provided by the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), Shetland Islands Council and North Yell Development Council.

The electricity generated by the propeller mounted on the turbine is generated as the tide ebbs and flows. This drives a generator and the electricity that is produced is transmitted back to shore via a 1km subsea cable.

The Nova 30 Tidal Device

AR1500 Tidal Turbine

The Nova 30 is a 30kW device and this single device, when in full operation is capable of generating 30kW of electricity, essentially this is enough electricity to power up to 30 homes. In the case of this particular turbine it is also providing power to 30 homes, an ice plant and Cullivoe Harbour Industrial Estate.

The significance of the connection of the Nova 30 to the grid is that it has become the world’s first community-owned tidal turbine to provide commercial power.

Comments from the Management

Details of the project have been presented to the All-Energy Conference in Aberdeen by the Scottish energy minister, Fergus Ewing who has confirmed that the project is now producing power.

Ewing stated that “For the first time, anywhere in the world, a community-owned tidal turbine is generating electricity. It will have a positive impact on the North Yell community and economy.”

Nova’s managing director Simon Forrest also expressed his delight at the successful deployment of the device.

“It marks a major achievement for the wider Scottish tidal industry with over 80 per cent of Nova’s supply chain Scottish-based,” Forrest said.

“By working in close partnership with the North Yell community and our suppliers, we believe that this project demonstrates the growing confidence in the marine sector and strengthens Nova Innovation’s leading position in the emerging global marine energy industry.”

Bigger Plans For the Future

This is a significant step in the development of technology in the tidal power industry and could pave the way to a more significant array. Nova Innovations is also developing the scaled up version of the deployed Nova 30 in the form of the Nova 100.

The company has already secured a Crown Estate lease and permits to install five Nova 100 devices as an array and will become one of the first in-sea tidal arrays in the world.

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