World’s first community-owned tidal turbine comes online

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The world’s first community-owned tidal power turbine has come online, exporting electricity to the local grid in Scotland.

Scotland Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said last week that the turbine will power up to 30 homes, a locally owned ice plant and the Cullivoe Harbour Industrial Estate on North Yell, Shetland.

rsz_9b_nacelle_lowered_into_place_with_logoThe turbine sits on the seabed at a depth of over 30m and is driven by the power of the tide as it flows past. The rotating turbine drives a generator that produces electricity, which is transmitted onshore via a 1km subsea cable.

The project, developed by Leith-based tidal energy company Nova Innovation in partnership with North Yell Development Council, was funded by the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), Shetland Islands Council and North Yell Development Council.

The project is 100 per cent owned by the North Yell Development Council (NYDC) a company limited by guarantee and a charity.

In 2010, the project received £167,763 development funding from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) supported by Community Energy Scotland, £16,990 from the Shetland Islands Council and £1,200 from the NYDCs own funds.

In Aberdeen, attending the All-Energy Conference, Mr Ewing said: “For the first time, anywhere in the world, a community owned tidal turbine is generating electricity. It will have a positive impact on the North Yell community and economy.”

“Scotland is recognised as world leader in wave and tidal energy, with a quarter of Europe’s tidal stream and a tenth of its wave-energy potential.

“We must tackle climate change and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through better and more efficient uses of energy. That is why Scotland generated a record amount of electricity from green energy sources last year.”

rsz_nova30group_smallRobert Henderson, Shetland Islands Council Cllr and Chairman of North Yell Development Council, said that “this is a tremendous moment for North Yell. For the first time anywhere in the world, electricity is being generated from a community owned tidal turbine.”

“Having used as much local expertise as possible we’re keen to see Shetland taking a leading role in marine renewables.”

Simon Forrest, Managing Director of Nova Innovation, said: “We are delighted to announce that the Nova 30 tidal turbine has been successfully deployed and is generating electricity to the grid. It marks a major achievement for the wider Scottish tidal industry with over 80 per cent of Nova’s supply chain Scottish based.

“By working in close partnership with the North Yell community and our suppliers, we believe that this project demonstrates the growing confidence in the marine sector and strengthens Nova Innovation’s leading position in the emerging global marine energy industry.”


  • Beat Odermatt

    Can you imagine how much power we could harness in the tropical North of Australia, especially the Kimberleys.

    • Alen

      The south of Australia has also some of the greatest wave potential in world, and technology such as the CETO from Carnagie is beatifully suited for this location. It is both a populated area and from future projections, going to become a regions with lower rainfall, so a technology that is able to supply both energy and desalinated water is ideal if you ask me. Establish a pilot site down there, connect to the NEM and shut those old and dirty brown coal plants down.