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Scottish company wins EU backing to build one of the world’s biggest tidal farms

A tidal farm off the coast of Orkney is set to be home to what a company claims is the largest number of turbines anywhere in the world.

Nova, experts in marine renewables, has won European Union (EU) funding for a four megawatt tidal energy farm off the coast of Orkney which will be called Seastar.

The project will kick start the manufacture of turbines at the company’s headquarters in Edinburgh.

It will mark a crucial step in the unlocking a new global source of renewable energy in the battle against climate change.

Humza Yousaf visit to Nova Innovation
First Minister Humza Yousaf during a visit to tidal energy company Nova Innovation in Edinburgh (Lesley Martin/PA)

First Minister Humza Yousaf visited Nova earlier this year. He said: “Scotland is a world leader in marine renewable energy as a result of consistent and committed support from the Scottish Government together with the expertise, investment and innovation of the industry.

“Nova’s project at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney will accelerate the development of a new industry and helps to show how Scottish ingenuity is helping us to capture the immense potential of renewable energy from our seas and oceans.”

Nova hope the project will build on the Shetland Tidal Array, the world’s first offshore tidal farm, which has been powering homes in the archipelago since 2016.

Nova say they have enhanced technology and slashed the cost of tidal energy by 40%.

The ambitious project is funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe programme, which is dedicated to fostering innovation and technology.

Simon Forrest, chief executive of Nova Innovation, said: “This is a huge win for Nova and a huge vote of confidence for the tidal energy sector.

“To be awarded the EU’s flagship tidal energy project with turbines made and deployed here in Scotland, using a pan-European supply chain, is testament to our track record of success.

“The Seastar project will see more turbines installed than all other current deployments worldwide combined. This will enable Nova to start mass manufacturing, deploy at scale and continue to drive down the cost of tidal energy.”

Nova say tidal energy in the UK could meet 11% of the current electricity demand while the global market could be worth about £125 billion by 2050.