by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
The world’s first community-owned tidal turbine will be made and deployed in Scotland, after a fabrication contract between Scottish firms Steel Engineering and Nova Innovation was announced by First Minister Alex Salmond.
During a visit that formed part of the Scottish Government’s Summer Cabinet programme in Renfrew, the First Minister confirmed that the two companies had reached agreement to manufacture a tidal turbine that will be connected to the grid and provide electricity to people in one of the most remote parts of Scotland.
The Nova-30 device, to be used by the North Yell community in Shetland to power a local ice plant and industrial estate, will be fabricated for Leith-based Nova Innovation Ltd in Steel Engineering’s newly expanded Renfrew facility. The new premises, which will help the firm meet its ambition to create 120 new jobs, were officially opened by the First Minister recently.
During his visit to Steel Engineering, the First Minister also opened The Renewable Energy Skills Training Academy (TRESTA), a cutting-edge centre run by Steel Engineering with the help of our agencies that will train 60 apprentices a year in the skills required to play their part in Scotland’s renewables revolution.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Scotland is leading the way in the development of marine renewables, and today’s announcement that the world’s first community-owned turbine is to be manufactured and deployed on these shores is a truly fantastic endorsement of our burgeoning renewables sector.
“The turbine being developed by Nova Innovation – based in Leith – and manufactured by Steel Engineering – based in Renfrew - will be used to power businesses in a Shetland community, showing the very tangible benefits that marine renewable power can bring to Scotland’s businesses and people in the years to come.
“The Steel Engineering plant in Renfrew is a truly impressive industrial site, and this contract win has created a real buzz among the workforce, some of whom I met today during my visit. I was particularly excited to speak to the young apprentices who are just beginning their training at the fantastic new skills training academy on site.
“Steel Engineering is a great example of a dynamic Scottish company leading the way in offshore engineering while ensuring that the next generation of engineers is ready and equipped to help take forward Scotland’s renewables revolution.”
Peter Breslin, managing director of Steel Engineering, said: “We are delighted to win this ground-breaking renewable contract and look forward to a long-term working partnership with Nova. This contract will help to put Steel Engineering on the map as a major renewable manufacturer and will also help to safeguard and create Scottish jobs at our facility in Renfrew.”
Simon Forrest, Director of Nova Innovation, said: “Nova Innovation is delighted to announce this important milestone which will help accelerate the growth of our business and significantly advance marine energy in Scotland.
“Steel Engineering is rapidly building a strong reputation as a leading manufacturer of renewable products and we are confident in the company’s ability to fulfill this contract to an excellent standard.
“We see significant potential for tidal arrays for other communities across Scotland and look forward to working with Steel Engineering on this and future marine renewable projects.”
The Nova-30 (30kW) tidal turbine employs a horizontal axis, three-bladed rotor to extract reliable and predictable energy from the tides. The turbine, which will be deployed in the Bluemull Sound between the islands of Yell and Unst, will be owned by the North Yell community, which received a grant of £150,000 from the Scottish Government to help its development. It will help regenerate the fragile economy of North Yell – one of Europe’s most remote communities, providing valuable income and supporting local jobs.
Those underwater tidal turbines also prove that a tidal barrage, as was planned and discarded for the Severn Estuary, which has some of the highest tidal movements in Britain, would not even be required and turbines such as these would do the job.
Those turbines also could be adapted to be uses in rivers, especially tidal ones and thus the country could become energy independent with renewables.
But this is not something our greenest government ever would want to hear. But why would they? It would dry up their nice monetary supply from the vested interest groups such as the oil, coal and gas industry.