Community Tidal Power On Its Way In Scotland

In windy north central Oregon, they’ve got community wind. In sunny Colorado, it’s community solar. In Scotland? Community-owned tidal power is the thing – or, at least, it will be soon.

First Minister Alex Salmond, perhaps the world’s most fervent clean-energy backer to head a government, said this week that the Scottish company Steel Engineering would build a 30-kilowatt turbine designed by another Scottish company, Nova Innovation, to be grid-connected for use by the Scottish community North Yell, in Shetland.

scotland community wind

image via Nova Innovation

Notice a Scottish theme here? Salmond did.

“The turbine being developed by Nova Innovation – based in Leith – and manufactured by Steel Engineering – based in Renfrew – will be used to power businesses in a Shetland community, showing the very tangible benefits that marine renewable power can bring to Scotland’s businesses and people in the years to come,” he said in a statement.

We’ve covered a lot of Scottish marine energy developments, but this is the first we’ve heard of Nova Innovation or their turbine. The image of the model included with the press release (above),which was also on display in miniature at the Nova-Steel announcement, looked a lot like the HS1000 tidal turbine (below), developed by Andritz Hdyro Hammerfest. ScottishPower Renewables recently tested that turbine in the Orkney Islands and said the results  had “been very positive with the device achieving full export power.”

turbine

image via ScottishPower Renewables

The Scottish government said the turbine will be deployed in the Bluemull Sound between the islands of Yell and Unst. North Yell received a £150,000 grant from the Scottish government to develop the turbine project. Nova Innovation and Steel Engineering hope it’s the beginning of a trend.

“We see significant potential for tidal arrays for other communities across Scotland and look forward to working with Steel Engineering on this and future marine renewable projects,” Simon Forrest, director of Nova Innovation, said in a statement.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.