Edinburgh, Scotland-based company Nova Innovation says it has deployed the world’s first fully-operational, commercial, grid-connected offshore tidal array. Last week, the company and its project partner, ELSA, installed the second in a series of three 100 kW turbines was deployed alongside its first turbine earlier in 2016, making this the first offshore tidal array in the world to deliver electricity to the grid.
The array has a rotating turbine, which is spun by the power of the tide, which drives a generator that produces electricity, which is then transmitted to the shore through a subsea cable. The turbine blades were made by Shetland Composites, a Scottish firm that specializes in all types of glass fiber and other forms of reinforced resin construction.
For the blades for the tidal array, Shetland Composites used fiberglass, which Gibson says is robust, lightweight, corrosion resistant and require little maintenance. Shetland Composites won the supply contract for the project back in 2014, which owner Fred Gibson called “a big step up for the company.”
“Most of our work in the marine renewable sector has been in the development of [fiberglass] prototype devices,” Gibson said in 2014. “Now, finally, these projects are scaling up and becoming commercially viable.”
The tidal may only be one of many efforts to make Scotland a world leader in sustainability. According to Lang Banks, the director of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland, the country could be the first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.
“With some of the most powerful tides in Europe, Scotland is well placed to lead in developing this promising technology, which will help to cut climate emissions and create green jobs right across the country,” Banks said.