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Nova’s ‘holy grail’ tidal project to ‘replace’ coal and nuclear

Nova Innovation tidal power in Shetland

Nova’s tidal array is a ‘game-changer’ for the renewables industry


Scottish cleantech company Nova Innovation has unveiled a the ‘holy grail’ in tidal power that may one day see it replace nuclear and coal-produced energy.

Through a deal with Tesla’s battery technology, Nova has achieved a ‘world first’ breakthrough that means it can now deliver predictable power and storage.

Nuclear and coal energy have long been promoted because of their ability to deliver baseload generation – steady, constant power.

Nova Innovation’s game-changing technology means that, as it is scaled up to hundreds of megawatts in the coming years, baseload tidal power has the ability to displace nuclear and coal generation.

Since the start of October, the grid has been supplied by Nova’s Tidal Energy Storage System (TESS) demonstrator, which integrates Nova Innovation’s Shetland Tidal Array with Tesla ’s battery technology to provide clean power ‘on demand’.

Simon Forrest, CEO at Nova Innovation, said: By storing the clean energy generated by the natural ebb and flow of the tide, we can control the supply of electricity to the grid to match demand. This creates a consistent source of completely predictable power from a clean, sustainable resource.

“Nova’s expertise in smart grid control, renewable generation and energy storage has delivered this game-changing innovation. We now look forward to expanding our services to other markets and renewable projects.”

Linking tidal power with energy storage improves security of supply, reduces carbon emissions and helps to balance electricity supply and demand. The predictability of the tide and the six-hour generation cycle times make it the perfect partner for energy storage.

Sam Gardner, acting director of WWF Scotland said: Predictable renewable power and smart storage working in harmony is the holy grail of the transition to a renewable electricity system.

“It’s great that the Scottish Government has backed this project and we hope it inspires politicians and others with the confidence to provide further support for ground-breaking technologies to cut climate pollution.”

The project has secured funding from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme. The programme, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, is accelerating the development and delivery of low-carbon infrastructure projects across Scotland.

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, will be visiting Nova Innovations’ Edinburgh-based workshop to see where the turbines were designed and manufactured. The Minister will view live footage of the turbines generating energy from a natural, renewable source as well as monitor the levels of energy being stored in real-time.

The project also has the support of leading environmental charities because of its impact on reducing carbon-intensive energy production.

Scots firm Sunamp signs cleantech deal in China

Thermal energy storage specialist Sunamp has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese solar energy company Trina Solar, to introduce a game-changing cleantech solution that is set to cut energy consumption and disrupt the global heat pump sector. 

The signing ceremony was attended by Edinburgh-based Sunamp’s chief executive Andrew Bissell and Jifan Gao, chairman and chief executive of Trina Solar, at the official opening of the new heat pump factory in Changzhou, China.

Sunamp and Trinar Andrew Bissell

Sunamp CEO Andrew Bissell at the signing with Trina Solar VP John Ding


The collaboration agreement follows a visit from Trina Solar representatives to Sunamp’s manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Edinburgh earlier this year.

Sunamp will supply heat batteries for Trina’s customer experience centres in Changzou and, in exchange, Trina will supply solar PV equipment for Sunamp’s customer experience centre.

Commenting on the MoU, Jifan Gao said: “Trina and Sunamp both share the same idea of accepting the responsibility of combating global climate change, and this lays the foundation for mutual cooperation.”

Mr Bissell said: “We are extremely honoured that such a prestigious global company as Trina Solar has chosen Sunamp as a partner as they embark on their expansion into the heat pump market.”

Dr Maurizio Zaglio, International Business Development Manager at Sunamp, said: “This agreement marks a milestone in the development of Sunamp. This partnership with a worldwide leader in the renewable energy sector proves that the company is mature and eager to launch our heat batteries in key international markets. ”

The companies will run a trial of the proposed integrated solution in China over the winter months.


One Comment to Nova’s ‘holy grail’ tidal project to ‘replace’ coal and nuclear

  1. OK. I approve of funding tidal projects – at least to do enough research and development on demonstrator projects to find out if tidal technology can ever compete with wind power on cost.

    Better not to describe tidal schemes as the “holy grail” until they have been proven to be commercially competitive compared to wind power and I don’t think we are there yet.

    Just because something “works” at a basic level doesn’t mean that it is going to sweep all else aside.

    Tidal is clearly a better hope than other less promising technologies such as wave or CCS-LEAK but that doesn’t mean that wind or solar power has anything to worry about, yet.

    “predictable renewable power”

    Predictable maybe but not constant supply from week to week, between energetic “spring” tides one week and minimum “neap” tides the next week, not without a lot more week-to-week energy storage.

    Presumably, Nova Innovation are using tidal stream generation with batteries but interestingly it is possible to supply baseload power using tidal LAGOONS but WITHOUT batteries!.

    See – “Double Tidal Lagoon Baseload Scheme”

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