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Dismay as Nova Innovation mothballs Enlli Tidal Project

SCOTTISH tidal stream energy company, Nova Innovation, has announced it has had to take the difficult decision to pull out of one of their flagship Welsh tidal projects in North Wales.

The Enlli (Bardsey Island) project aimed to make the remote island the world’s first ‘blue energy island’ by generating power from the strong tidal currents running between Bardsey Island and the mainland on the Llŷn Peninsula.

In 2020 Nova Innovation secured funding from the Welsh Government to progress environmental consenting and the technical design of its Enlli tidal energy project. The aim of this ground-breaking project was to install five 100 kW turbines on the seabed of Bardsey Sound.

A spokesperson from Nova Innovation told Herald.Wales “Due to a range of site-specific factors, including revenue support limitations and grid and cable routing constraints, the project will be mothballed from March 2023.

This has been a difficult decision, but the issues identified mean it is not currently economically viable to develop a project here. If the grid on the Llŷn peninsula is strengthened, the tidal project in Bardsey Sound would become viable and offer significant opportunities for local regeneration in the future. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked and partnered with us on the Enlli project for their interest, advice and feedback.”

Wales is currently well positioned to become a world leader in commercial tidal stream

energy, with the Morlais tidal demonstration zone covering 35km2 of seabed off the northwest coast of Anglesey set to attract an international cohort of turbine manufacturers to the region over the coming years. To maintain our early mover advantage, Marine Energy Wales champions the need to increase revenue support for the emerging offshore energy sector, and investment in grid infrastructure to make more projects viable.

Tom Hill, Marine Energy Wales Programme Manager said: “Our coastline’s natural resources – wind, waves and tides – have tremendous potential to produce cheap, clean energy and support thousands of new jobs in the renewables sector.

“Tidal stream energy has come a long way in the past 10 years. The technology is proven, it is the challenge of commercialisation the industry now faces.

“The site-specific factors the Enlli Project faced, are real barriers, and this is why we are campaigning for sector investment, timely consenting and grid upgrades, so that Wales can capitalise on its renewable energy resources.

Nova Innovation has strong environmental credentials with 10 years of monitoring experience, and the Enlli project has delivered several benefits including site information and data; strong links built with the local community and collaborative working relationships with stakeholders. We hope it will become viable again in the future.”