Scottish firm to lead €20m tidal energy project

Leading tidal energy business, Nova Innovation, is to head Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal, a consortium of nine pioneering industrial, academic and research organisations collaborating on a major new European project.

The EnFAIT project aims to increase the commercial viability of tidal energy - image courtesy of Nova Innovation.
The EnFAIT project aims to increase the commercial viability of tidal power – image courtesy of Nova Innovation.

The pan-European project reportedly extends Nova Innovation’s Bluemull Sound tidal energy array off the Shetland Islands to six turbines and is intended to demonstrate that high array reliability and availability can be achieved using best practice maintenance regimes. The layout of the turbines will be adjusted to enable array interactions and optimisation to be studied for the very first time at an operational tidal energy site.

According to Nova, the EnFAIT project is a “flagship initiative” for the EU, and is expected to cost £20.2m (€20m), of which the EU Horizon 2020 Programme is expected to contribute €14.9m. It aims to increase the commercial viability of tidal power.

The EnFAIT project is due to begin this month and will run until June 2022. It has been won as a competitive contract awarded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to develop marine energy sources and demonstrate technologies in European waters.

Simon Forrest, chief executive of Nova Innovation, explained: “Winning the EnFAIT project represents a huge vote of confidence in the ability of Nova Innovation and its partners to deliver. The project will make a major contribution to reducing the lifetime costs of tidal energy, and will boost investor confidence by providing hard-edged analytics of commercial and operational performance to inform investment decisions.”

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe labelled the project an important pathfinder for the tidal energy industry in Europe.

He said: “This announcement is a significant development, and further proof that the tidal energy industry is now in take-off mode. The EnFAIT project is an important pathfinder project and will help strengthen Europe’s global technology leadership in tidal energy. The knowledge, experience and expertise gained from projects like this will pave the way for a new industrial manufacturing sector with a supply chain based firmly in Europe”.

Last year, Nova announced that it had become the first company in the world to deploy a fully operational offshore tidal array when its 100kw turbines installed at Bluemull Sound began delivering electricity to the grid. It was in recognition of this that Nova won the Judges Award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2016.

Of the EnFAIT project’s nine industrial, academic and research organisations, more than half are from the UK:

  • Nova Innovation (UK) – world-leading tidal technology specialist.
  • ELSA (Belgium) – renewable energy project developer.
  • The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult (UK) – UK’s flagship technology innovation and research centre for advancing wind, wave and tidal energy.
  • HMK Technical Services Ltd (UK) – the largest integrated drive systems provider in the UK.
  • SKF GmbH (Germany) – expert in the simulation and delivery of bearing and sealing solutions, with extensive experience with tidal energy companies in developing a range of solutions for tidal stream turbines.
  • The University of Edinburgh (UK) – world leaders in marine renewable energy systems, electrical power conversion, grid integration, and the inter-disciplinary assessment and socio-economic modelling of energy systems.
  • Wood Group (France) – world leader in offshore technologies and renewables having assessed over 160 GW of renewable energy developments internationally. Decades of experience in assessing and verifying renewable technologies.
  • Mojo Maritime Ltd (UK) – specialist in project management, engineering and consultancy services for the marine renewables industry.
  • RSK Environment (France) – leading multidisciplinary environmental consultancy.