Edinburgh tidal turbine pioneers win £6.4m funding from Scottish National Investment Bank

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A Leith-based company which is pioneering sub-sea tidal energy is set to double its workforce after securing £6.4 million by the Scottish National Investment Bank to expand operations.

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Nova Innovation, launched in 2010, installed the world’s first offshore tidal array in Shetland five years ago, which turns the power of the sea into clean, reliable energy for the islands’ 22,000 inhabitants – including the first tidal-powered electric vehicle charging point.

It is currently working on a contract to install 15 turbines in Nova Scotia, Canada, with the first ones due to be delivered by the end of the year. And now it is looking to expand into South-East Asia.

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Fifteen turbines are already supplying clean, reliable energy in Shetland   Picture: Nova InnovationFifteen turbines are already supplying clean, reliable energy in Shetland   Picture: Nova Innovation
Fifteen turbines are already supplying clean, reliable energy in Shetland Picture: Nova Innovation

The money from the Scottish National Investment Bank will fund manufacturing and distribution of the company’s innovative 100kW tidal turbines and see it increase its presence across the UK as well as expand into new global markets.

Nova said it currently employed 35 people and over the next few years expected that to increase to around 70.

Chief executive Simon Forrest said: “We are passionate about creating sustainable energy solutions and have proven that our tidal turbines meet all our client requirements in the toughest of environments.

"Our products deliver clean, predictable power with no visual impact or negative effects on the environment. We have been successfully powering homes, businesses, and the grid in Shetland for over five years. We now look forward to delivering our product to new markets around the world.

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“We would like to thank the Scottish National Investment Bank for this significant investment in mass manufacturing and distribution of Nova’s tidal energy technology – supporting Scotland’s transition to net zero and tackling the climate emergency.”

Core technology will be manufactured in Scotland and supply chain benefits will be passed on to other Scottish businesses.

Nova said its turbines can be used to generate tidal energy within small projects in coastal communities or scaled up to large developments that power the national grid.

And it said as well as strong opportunities for tidal energy in the waters around Scotland and the UK, the technology had global potential since there are strong tidal currents on every continent.

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The bank’s investment will also fund ongoing research and development into marine energy.

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Eilidh Mactaggart, chief executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank, said: “Nova Innovation is a great example of Scottish engineering finding new solutions to the climate crisis. Its tidal technology has the potential to sustainably meet the energy needs of remote communities globally.

“This innovative business has proven that its tidal technology works successfully commercialised its technology with a growing order book for its turbines both locally and globally.

“I am very proud that the bank’s investment will enable Nova to develop new facilities to expand its manufacturing capacity and increase the supply of its tidal turbines to Scotland, the UK and the world.

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“Nova’s recent development of tidal powered electric vehicle charging points underlines the company’s ability to develop and expand the use of its technology creatively. Nova’s focus on the supply to island and coastal communities who were previously heavily dependent on fossil fuels has been a key driver in its success to date.”

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