Grid-connected Shetland Tidal Array in Scotland is operational

Nova Innovations 100-kW M100 turbine

Nova Innovation Ltd. and Belgian energy company ELSA through their company, Shetland Green Electricity Ltd., announced last week the Shetland Tidal Array is operational, in what Nova Innovations is calling “the first offshore tidal array in the world to deliver electricity to the grid.”

In March 2016, HydroWorld.com reported the project began operating the first of its five planned-MHK turbines. According to Nova Innovations, unlike existing tidal schemes that use single power plants or installations, the Shetland Tidal Array uses a chain of separate turbines.

The array is deployed in Bluemull Sound, the strait between Unst and Yell of Scotland in Shetland's North Isles where the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. 

When complete, the 0.5 MW array will consist of five Nova M100 marine hydrokinetic (MHK) turbines, each with an installed capacity of 100 kW.

Announced in June 2014, development of the M100 unit was funded in large part by a US$3.14 million award from the Renewable Energy Investment Fund and the Scottish government's enterprise agency, Scottish Enterprise.

The MHK array forms the engineering extension of the existing Nova 30 project which was successfully deployed at the same site early in 2014.

The islands, which are not yet connected to the UK grid, get most of their electricity from a diesel-fueled power station which is supplied by tankers.

Nova Innovation said the two turbines are operating at 40% of their installed capacity.

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