Million pound Bluemull turbine gets £573,000 Holyrood funding

by Tom Morton -

A revolutionary tidal turbine to be sited in Bluemull Sound between Yell and Unst is to receive Scottish Government funding of £573,000 towards the £1m cost of development and demonstration . Nova Innovation has been awarded the cash to develop and demonstrate a direct-drive tidal turbine under the latest competitive WATERS funding round. The innovative direct-drive generator will increase the efficiency and reliability of tidal turbines, reducing the cost of energy by 20%, and increasing the commercial returns available to Nova Innovation’s customers. Nova developed the world’s first community-owned tidal turbine in 2014 at North Yell in Shetland and will test the technology associated with the WATERS award at its consented site in Bluemull Sound, Shetland.

Welcoming the announcement Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies are working hard to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the low-carbon economy.

“WATERS is designed to foster a culture of innovation and research and development ... I am determined that we make the most of the clean, secure and abundant energy stored in the waters around our coasts and [the WATERS award winners] are developing pioneering technologies to help us do that.”

Welcoming the awards, Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and clean technologies at Scottish Enterprise said: “Scotland is playing a key role in the development of marine energy at a global level, with the sector offering significant opportunities for our companies.

“By taking key technologies to the next stage of commercial exploitation, this latest round of WATERS funding will help create more opportunities and support the growth of the sector.”

Calum Davidson, Director of energy and low carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, added: "We welcome the announcement of the WATERS 3 funding and warmly congratulate each of the successful companies. The Highlands and Islands already boasts an enviable international reputation in the development of marine renewable energy. This is underlined by today’s announcement of another company investing in our region and offering significant supply chain opportunities."

Simon Forrest, Managing Director of Nova Innovation, said: “Nova Innovation is committed to driving down the cost of tidal power through innovation. Our direct-drive generator is more reliable and efficient than a conventional geared drive train; this increases the energy generated by our turbines and reduces operating costs. The impact is a 20% reduction in lifetime cost of energy and increasing commercial return for our customers.

“This product was originally developed with the help of a Scottish Enterprise SMART award, and has benefited from a Scottish Enterprise funded Knowledge Exchange partnership with the University of Edinburgh. This as an excellent example of public funding in Scotland supporting Scottish companies to bring innovative ideas from the drawing board to the market.”

WATERS 3 is a collaborative venture between Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Story from Shetland News here.