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Nova doubles the size of Shetland tidal array


Edinburgh-based tidal energy company Nova Innovation has achieved another world-first by doubling the size of their Shetland Tidal Array. In 2016, the array of three underwater tidal turbines was the first of its kind and has been powering homes and businesses in Shetland ever since. A fourth turbine (Eunice) was added in 2020. Now, with the installation of the 5th and 6th turbines, it becomes the array with the largest number of turbines anywhere in the world.

Turbines 5 and 6, Grace and Hali Hope, are connected via a pioneering subsea ‘hub’, sending power to shore by a single export cable. This innovation delivers significant savings on subsea cables, further reducing the cost of tidal power, essential as the industry scales-up and Nova develops larger sites with more turbines. In further proof of the commercial readiness of Nova’s technology, the Shetland Tidal Array’s years of operation has recently achieved the longest period of continuous monthly tidal stream power generation anywhere in the world.

Shetland has benefitted directly from the array; job creation, utilisation of local companies and, more recently, the launch of the world’s first EV charge point powered purely by the tide. Children from Cullivoe Primary School are particularly enthusiastic about the project as they have been responsible for naming the latest turbine Hali Hope; Hali, meaning ‘of the sea, beautiful ocean’ and, Hope, for the future of our planet.

Net Zero & Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Our abundant natural resources, expertise and innovation has made Scotland an early leader in marine energy. Our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, published earlier this month, consults on a new vision for the sector, which has the potential to contribute to the delivery of a secure and low carbon energy system while providing new industrial and economic opportunities for our net zero nation.


“As one of the pioneers of tidal energy Nova Innovation are demonstrating performance and reliability of the technology, and I welcome the expansion of its Shetland array. From creating the world’s first offshore tidal array in 2016, this achievement marks a new milestone for tidal energy across the world as we seek to scale up and accelerate the technology in Scotland and beyond.”


Senior Policy Officer at the European Commission Matthijs Soede said: ‘We are happy that the EU Horizon 2020 programme could support the development of tidal energy via the ENFAIT project and we hope that the good results of this project will attract further investors. Learnings from the continued operation and maintenance of all turbines, from Ailsa to Hali Hope, are extremely important and are a milestone for the whole ocean energy sector”.


CEO of Nova Innovation Simon Forest said: “The doubling of the Shetland Tidal Array is further evidence of the scalability and commercial readiness of tidal energy. We have been powering homes and businesses in Shetland since 2016 so our technology is proven in Shetland, ready for the world. The EnFAIT project, funded by EU Horizon 2020, has been instrumental in driving down the cost of tidal energy, demonstrating extensive reliability and proving the bankability of the tidal sector.”