VOLT tidal turbine project gets £2m boost

The Scottish Government has awarded £2m to a project aiming to rapidly enhance the manufacturing capacity of tidal turbines.

VOLT (VOlume Manufacturing and Logistics for Tidal Energy) is a two-year scheme being run by Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation. It aims to create the first European assembly line for mass production of tidal turbines, as well as explore methods of improving turbine efficiency, the logistics for mass manufacture and ways to reduce the costs. The project will also seek to develop a Remote Observation Platform (ROP) to assist with in-person monitoring of tidal energy sites.

“This support is significant and very welcome as it sees Nova and the wider sector shift onto an industrial footing,” said Simon Forrest, CEO of Nova Innovation. “It is an endorsement of Nova’s global ambition to transform the power of our seas into clean, predictable energy, empowering coastal communities all around the world.”

Nova Innovation’s 100kW turbines have been supplying the Shetland grid for over five years and will soon be deployed in North America and mainland Europe. In delivering VOLT, Nova said it will demonstrate what is required to efficiently scale up the production of tidal energy devices across the world.

Tidal energy costs are said to be falling as the sector scales up. According to Nova, it offers a competitive alternative to diesel generation in many markets and will be cheaper than nuclear by 2030. By 2050 the global market for tidal energy could be up to £126bn.

“With our abundant natural resources and expertise, Scotland is ideally-placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy both here and across the world,” said Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for Net Zero in the Scottish government. “That’s why we are determined to help the sector grow and develop.”