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Tidal turbine project for ‘blue energy island’ gets £1.2m funding

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Nova Innovation said the project could help the ‘Island in the Currents’ switch from a dependency on diesel generation to become the world’s first blue energy island (Credit: Nova Innovation)
Nova Innovation said the project could help the ‘Island in the Currents’ switch from a dependency on diesel generation to become the world’s first blue energy island (Credit: Nova Innovation)

The Welsh island of Ynys Enlli could ditch its dependency on diesel to become the world’s first ‘blue energy island’ thanks to a new tidal energy project.

Nova Innovation has secured an investment of £1.2m from the Welsh government through the European Regional Development Fund for its Enlli project in north Wales.

The installation will generate electricity from the natural ebb and flow of the tide between Ynys Enlli – also known as Bardsey Island – and the mainland of the Llŷn Peninsula. Nova said the project could help the ‘Island in the Currents’ switch from a dependency on diesel generation to become the world’s first blue energy island.

The new funding will support the environmental consent and engineering design work. Nova plans to install five 100kW turbines on the seabed, with a view to install more turbines in the future.

Tidal energy is unique among renewable energy resources as it is predictable ahead of time, helping to meet and balance local demand. The project provides an opportunity for local communities to power homes, businesses and vehicles using the power of the tide.

“As Wales looks to respond to the challenges posed by the climate emergency, we need to harness the ambition and innovative spirit of renewable energy providers like Nova, ensuring that their expertise and experience can be put to good use,” said Lesley Griffiths, Welsh government minister for energy.  

“As such, I am very pleased that we have been able to support Nova in their Ynys Enlli tidal energy project. Wales was at the leading edge of the first industrial revolution, and through projects like these we can play a leading role in the green industrial revolution taking place today.”

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 said: “This is yet another boost for the marine energy sector in Wales, and helps us deepen our Celtic connections as this project draws on 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, business, 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.”


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