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UK startup Nova Innovation is transforming the power of seas into clean energy, bags £1.2M from Welsh Government

Nova Innovation
Image credits: Nova Innovation

Despite the potential to scale up as a global renewable energy source, Tidal power has never quite lived up to its expectations to date. One of the reasons behind is the engineering and marine environment challenges, as well as difficulty in finding suitable locations to construct such facilities. 

However, there are numerous projects in the demonstration phase right now, with many more in the pipeline for future development. And one such project that could flip the script is Nova Innovation‘s Enlli tidal energy project. 

Raised £1.2 million

The Edinburgh-based tidal energy company, Nova Innovation designs, builds, operates tidal energy devices and develops sites for arrays of tidal turbines. 

Recently, the company raised £1.2 million from the Welsh Government through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for its Enlli tidal energy project in north Wales. 

Simon Forrest, Nova’s Chief Executive Officer said: “Harnessing the immense, natural power of the tides in Swnt Enlli (Bardsey Sound) will provide clean ocean energy for the local community and help regenerate the local economy. Our tidal turbines have been powering the Shetland grid for over four years and we are very excited about helping drive the blue economy in north Wales.” 

How will the funding be used?

The funding will be used to support the environmental consenting and engineering design work for this ground-breaking project. Some part of the funding will be used to create jobs for local people in the new low carbon economy. 

Enlli project 

The Enlli project creates the opportunity to generate electricity from the natural ebb and flow of the tide between Ynys Enlli – ‘The Island in the Currents’ – and the mainland of the Llŷn Peninsula. 

As per the company claims, it has the potential to help the ‘Island in the Currents’ switch from a dependency on diesel generation to become the world’s first blue energy island.

Turbines are hidden beneath the sea’s surface

The UK company plans to install five 100 kW turbines on the seabed to install more turbines in the future. The tidal turbines are completely hidden beneath the surface of the sea, with none of the visual siting issues faced by wind, solar, and conventional fossil fuels. 

Environmental monitoring of Nova’s Shetland Tidal Array in Bluemull Sound, which includes regular seabird and marine mammal surveys of the area and use of underwater cameras to monitor wildlife around the turbines has not detected any negative impacts on marine wildlife.

Jess Hooper from Marine Energy Wales added: “This is yet another boost for the marine energy sector in Wales, and helps us deepen our Celtic connections as this project draws on the expertise and learning from the world’s first offshore tidal array – three tried, tested and monitored turbines installed in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. Transferring this knowledge and experience to North Wales will have far-reaching benefits, for communities, businesses, the sector, and, crucially, for wider action on climate change. Following on from Wales’ Climate Week, it’s great to see the blue economy contributing to the green recovery with action translating to real progress in Wales’ bid to achieve net-zero.”

Founded by Gary Connor, and Simon Forrest in 2010, Nova Innovation is passionate about having a cleaner environment and reducing the need for fossil fuels, for current and future generations. To date, the company has raised $4 million (approx £3 million).