Tidal powered electrical vehicles in Shetland helping to drive Scotland to net zero

Electric vehicles in Shetland are now being fuelled purely by the power of the sea.

Marine energy experts Nova Innovation have created the first ever electric vehicle (EV) charge point where drivers can “fill up” directly from a tidal energy source.

The EV charge point is located at Cullivoe harbour on the island of Yell in Shetland, an an archipelago of roughly 100 islands north of mainland Scotland. The charging point gets its electricity from Nova Innovation’s Shetland Tidal Array, a four turbine installation beneath the water in Bluemull Sound, a strait between Yell and another island called Unst.

For more than five years, Nova’s tidal turbines have been powering homes and businesses in Shetland, and will now power the island’s electric vehicles.

Simon Forrest, CEO 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.”

A Shetland resident and electric vehicle owner, Fiona Nicholson, welcomed the new addition as a benefit for the local community. She said: “I am delighted that we have an EV charge point powered by the tide. I need access to a charge point, and it is exciting to have this on my doorstep. 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.

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.

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

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. 

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