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Nova Innovation wins seabed lease to help drive Shetland’s clean energy future


Global tidal energy pioneers Nova Innovation (Nova) plan to develop their largest tidal energy array to date at Yell Sound in Shetland and boost decarbonisation of the local energy supply.

Nova has been awarded an Option Agreement from Crown Estate Scotland to develop a 15MW tidal array at Yell Sound, between the islands of Yell and Bigga, that is predicted to meet over a third of household electricity demand in Shetland.

This new tidal energy site will build on the success of the world’s first offshore tidal array that Nova created in neighbouring Bluemull Sound. Since 2016, the Shetland Tidal Array in Bluemull Sound has been transforming the raw power of the North Atlantic into clean, predictable energy, powering Shetland’s homes, businesses and grid.

Simon Forrest, CEO of Nova Innovation, said: “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.


“Building on Shetland’s success with the world’s first offshore tidal array in Bluemull Sound, we are delighted to be working with local partners to deliver another world-leading project.”


Nova has a strong track record and has delivered positive impacts for the local community including the use of highly skilled local companies and local manufacturing and fabrication. Companies in Shetland currently manufacture blades, steel structures and provide vessels and services for Nova. The turbines will be manufactured at Nova’s facility in Edinburgh.


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. Comprehensive environmental monitoring of Nova’s turbines in Bluemull Sound have demonstrated that they work in harmony with marine wildlife.


Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy, said: “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.”


Nova’s innovative turbines can unlock huge international and domestic tidal energy opportunities. The Shetland projects prove that tidal energy can generate substantial, scalable levels of clean, predictable energy for coastal populations around the world, harnessing the untapped tidal energy on their doorstep.


Sian Wilson, Head of Emerging Technology at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “We’re pleased to support the marine energy sector, and efforts by island communities such as the Shetland Islands to decarbonise their energy systems.


“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.”