Electric vehicle drivers on the Scottish archipelago of Shetland can now plug directly into the power of the Atlantic Ocean to recharge their cars, after the launch of what is being described as the “first ever” EV charge point powered entirely by tidal renewable energy.
The EV charge point, pictured above, was installed by marine energy outfit Nova Innovation at Bluemull Sound, at Cullivoe Harbour on the island of Yell – the second largest of Scotland’s Shetland Islands.
The generation source, Nova’s tidal array – apparently another world first when it was first installed – has been powering homes and businesses in Shetland for more than five years, the company said, but now, following an upgrade late last year, can deliver electricity provided “purely by the tide” to electric vehicles, too.
“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,” said Nova Innovation CEO Simon Forrest in a statement.
“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.”
BREAKING NEWS: Nova world first – tidal powered cars now a reality in Shetland – driving Scotland to #NetZero and powering a better future👉https://t.co/EH54QqAbxE@ShetIslandsCll @ScotGovEnergy @transcotland @UKEF @EUeic @EU_MARE @UN_SDG @G7 #tidalcars #blueeconomy #bluegrowth pic.twitter.com/APcRDuPQkT
— Nova Innovation (@NovaInnovation) March 22, 2021
Just how many EV drivers there are in Shetland, currently, is unclear. According to Shetland News there were 45 licensed electric or hybrid cars, vans or quadricycles on the islands in 2019, with access to 13 charging locations.
The Scottish government, however, has banned the sale of new cars powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2032. And to this end, Nova received grant funding through Transport Scotland to install the EV charging infrastructure as part of the country-wide transition.
“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,” said Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson.
“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,” Matheson said.
“In November, the eyes of the world will be on Scotland as nations come together to combat climate change at COP26,” added Forrest.
“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.”
Local EV driver, Fiona Nicholson from Cullivoe, said she needed access to a nearby charge point and was excited to have a tidal energy powered example installed on her 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.
“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.”