Tidal-powered electric vehicle charge point launched in Shetland

Emma O'Neill, PA Scotland
·3-min read

Tidal power is now being used to fuel electric cars in Shetland, in what is said to be a UK first.

Nova Innovation said it has launched the UK’s only electric vehicle charging point which provides energy through tidal power.

The facility is located on the shores of Bluemull Sound, at Cullivoe harbour on the island of Yell in Shetland.

The water turbines power the charging points (Nova Innovation/PA)
The water turbines power the charging points (Nova Innovation/PA)

Beneath the water, Nova’s tidal turbines have been powering homes and businesses in Shetland for more than five years.

The island’s vehicles can now be powered purely by the tide.

Simon Forrest, chief executive of Nova Innovation, said: “Our technology generates electricity from the immense power of the seas, and it is changing the way we power our lives – from how we make a cup of tea to how we travel.

“We now have the reality of tidal powered cars, which demonstrates the huge steps forward we are making in tackling the climate emergency and achieving net-zero by working in harmony with our natural environment.

“In November, the eyes of the world will be on Scotland as nations come together to combat climate change at Cop26.

“At Nova, we deliver blue energy solutions that can be deployed all around the world, delivering clean, predictable energy direct from the sea to our clients to meet whatever energy needs they have – electricity, heat or transport.”

Traditional combustion engine vehicles are responsible for around a fifth of all carbon emissions in the UK.

In the push towards net zero, the Scottish Government has banned the sale of new cars powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2032, accelerating the need to develop new sources of clean energy to power vehicles.

Fiona Nicholson from Cullivoe is an electric vehicle driver and welcomed the new addition as a benefit for the local community.

She said: “I am delighted that we have an electric vehicle charge point powered by the tide.

“Most people in Shetland live close to the sea – to be able to harness the power of the tide in this way is a great way to use this resource.

The charging point is said to be the first of its kind in the UK (Nova innovation/PA)
The charging point is said to be the first of its kind in the UK (Nova innovation/PA)

“We are very lucky to have a long stretch of coastline in Shetland and I think there will be a lot of interest in this technology and how different businesses could use it.”

The Nova project has received grant funding through Transport Scotland to install the EV charging infrastructure as part of the clean energy transition.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “It’s fantastic to see that Nova Innovation is demonstrating yet again that Scotland remains at the forefront of developments in zero-emission transport solutions.

“I’m pleased that Scottish Government funding is enabling the installation of a new charge point in Shetland which operates entirely on renewable tidal energy.

“This type of innovation is key in responding to the global climate emergency and highlights the opportunities that can be realised here in Scotland as we transition to a net-zero economy.”

Fabrice Leveque, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “It’s great to see tidal technology being used to help decarbonise part of Scotland’s transport sector in the islands.

“Scotland is well placed to continue to lead in developing this technology, which will help to cut climate emissions and create skilled, green jobs.

“Our islands have an abundance of renewable resources, including wind, tidal and solar, which when harnessed with care, could bring multiple economic and social benefits to remote and rural communities across Scotland.”