Tidal energy projects aim to improve renewables’ reliability

A scale-up of tidal energy projects aims to expand capacity, improve reliability and prove their worth to investors as a renewable energy source. 

Nova Innovation, a tidal power company based in Edinburgh, UK, deployed the world’s first array of tidal turbines last year, which were connected to the electricity grid in Shetland.

In the autumn 2016, Nova Innovation received a Horizon 2020’s SME Instrument grant of €2.25m to develop a commercial demonstrator of Nova’s innovative direct drive tidal turbine technology.

The turbines work by using the ebb of the tides from high to low twice a day, which moves huge quantities of water in the world’s seas.

This rush of water back and forth can be harnessed to drive turbines beneath the surface, producing electricity.

Simon Forrest, chief executive of Nova Innovation, said: “The sea is one of the world’s most challenging environments. However, technical innovation and learnings from the wind sector are being used to make the dream of harnessing energy from the tide a reality.”

The array of three 100-kilowatt turbines were installed in Bluemull Sound between the islands of Unst and Yell.

Remote islands like these benefit from additional power sources, and are home to some of the world’s most powerful tidal forces.

As water is denser than air, such turbines have the potential to generate much more energy than can be produced by wind turbines of a similar size.

A major element of the project will be moving the position of individual turbines to assess which arrangements in the water capture the most power from the tidal currents.

Together with an existing array of moveable turbines, the new turbines will bring a generating capacity of 12 megawatts to the area by 2020 — enough to power 7,000 homes.

Source | Horizon 2020 Projects