Published: 31 March 2022
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The last few months have been fantastic for tidal stream energy in the UK. We’ve seen levels of Government commitment and support unlike anything the industry has experienced before.

UK developers have shared their success stories in cost reduction, job creation and investment – highlighting the clear lead the UK has in the global tidal energy market. Given the tenacity and capability of the industry, the UK can now rapidly progress towards commercialisation and full-scale deployment in our waters.

Tidal energy is already powering homes and businesses in the UK and is competitive with diesel. This is revolutionary for remote and island communities that rely upon fossil fuel imports for electricity. By 2030, tidal energy is on track to be cheaper than both nuclear power and fossil fuels, providing a source of clean, predictable and sustainable energy across the world.

EnFAIT is one of the tidal projects that is demonstrating this dramatic cost reduction.

Project lead Nova Innovation has announced that the EnFAIT project has already achieved a staggering 30% reduction in the cost of tidal energy so far. This marks a huge achievement for the project team, as it continues to pave the way for future UK tidal farms.

As we enter the next era of tidal energy development, complemented by UK Government support through the CfD scheme, the EnFAIT project is pushing through the final strait to achieve the 40% cost reduction target set out 5 years ago. To achieve this, the EnFAIT team have several key milestones coming up:

T5 and T6: The two turbines, T5 and T6, will be installed in the Shetland Tidal Array in Autumn 2022 making it the tidal array with the most tidal turbines in the world. T5 and T6 will be using Nova’s direct drive turbine technology, as was the case with the fourth tidal turbine, Eunice, installed in the Shetland Tidal Array in 2020. This will increase the production of tidal energy from the tidal array and further enhance our opportunities for learning.

Operations and Maintenance: The project has already delivered record-breaking results for turbine availability and maintenance cost reductions, with the team able to reduce operational costs by 50%. The technical team will modify the array layout and operational strategies with a view to learning about interactions between turbines and optimise turbine performance.

Array Modelling: As part of the project, the team will model the most effective array layout, measure actual turbine loads, and compare with predicted data. This will improve array performance, leading to further cost reduction within the industry as the technology becomes more readily available along UK shores.

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