Tidal power firm Nova Innovation makes French debut, and eyes broader EU market

Nova Innovation has deployed its first tidal turbine outside its native Scotland, in France, where it says it sees “huge” potential – while it also believes it can help deliver the EU’s energy ambitions in this space.

The firm, which has offices and a manufacturing facility in Edinburgh, says it has installed its “world-leading” tidal energy technology at the Étel Estuary in Brittany on the west coast of France, adding that the tidal energy trial opens up a whole new global market to supply towns and cities near rivers with clean green electricity, and “proves” that its offering can be deployed in rivers and estuaries as well as seas and oceans.

The tidal power pioneer adds that its new French project follows the installation of the Shetland Tidal Array in 2016 – the world’s first offshore tidal energy array, which has powered local homes and businesses since 2016 – and ahead of further deployment in Canada this summer. It added that as per the two latter projects, it has worked in France with local experts and suppliers, with the new deployment delivered as part of the Element project – a €5 million (£4.4m) project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme – in partnership with Cinea (European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency).

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Nova collaborated with project partners Chantier Bretagne-Sud, ABB and Innosea on the manufacturing and build of the subsea systems, France Energies Marine for environmental monitoring and IDETA for community engagement, also branding the Étel deployment “another successful project delivered in partnership with the European Commission, keeping Europe at the forefront of this emerging global sector”.

The potential for tidal energy in France is 'huge', says Nova. Picture: contributed.The potential for tidal energy in France is 'huge', says Nova. Picture: contributed.
The potential for tidal energy in France is 'huge', says Nova. Picture: contributed.

Edinburgh-based Nova also stated that its seabed-mounted turbines create no visual impact or navigational hazard, “so the community using the Étel, ranging from oyster fishermen to kayakers, are unaffected by the turbines – the Étel estuary is rich in wildlife and one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Brittany, so Nova’s robust environmental credentials were a key factor to site approval”.


Nova chief executive Simon Forest said: “We are delighted to have successfully delivered this project in collaboration with our French partners and the European Commission. The potential for tidal energy in France is huge and this pan-European collaboration has demonstrated a continued path of cost-reduction alongside enhanced reliability.

“The demonstration of our technology in estuaries and rivers significantly increases the global market for our turbines. Having now successfully deployed in both the UK and France, which share the majority of the tidal resource within Europe, Nova is perfectly placed to help deliver the EU’s tidal energy ambitions and play its part in Europe’s energy security.”

Previous milestones for Nova – which also has projects in Islay and Wales says its tidal turbines can be deployed globally and operate 24/7, 365 days per year generating “clean, predictable” electricity – include in 2021 securing both £6.4m from the Scottish National Investment Bank to expand operations and the equivalent of more than £2m from the European Innovation Council Accelerator Fund. Other firms in Scotland pioneering tidal power include Simec Atlantis Energy, which is behind the MeyGen tidal power project in the Pentland Firth.



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