EnFAIT – Enabling Future Arrays In Tidal

Published 13 June 2018

A €20m flagship EU project to advance tidal energy technology development.

About the project

The EnFAIT project, led by Scottish tidal energy company Nova Innovation, will double the size of the world’s largest tidal array (to six turbines) over a five-year period to prove a cost reduction pathway for tidal energy and demonstrate that it can be cost competitive with other forms of renewable energy.

The project  is demonstrating  a grid-connected tidal energy array that:

  • delivers a step change in the lifetime cost of energy for tidal power;
  • proves that high array reliability and availability can be achieved with best practice maintenance regimes;
  • captures and disseminates substantial learning on fundamental issues for the ocean energy industry;
  • builds investor confidence; and
  • takes a significant step towards creating a commercial, bankable tidal energy sector.

The first half of the five-year project has been focused on learning from the three existing turbines in the Shetland Tidal Array and proving the reliability of the technology. The next stage of the project is focused on installing the direct drive turbines to demonstrate the rapidly falling cost of tidal energy. The first of the new advanced turbines was added to the array this year, increasing the number to four.

 “This project will prove that the reliability and availability of tidal energy arrays can be increased significantly and that we can reduce the cost of tidal energy by at least 40%” – Simon Forrest, Chief Executive, Nova Innovation.

Transforming tidal energy

In Autumn 2020, the project achieved a major milestone when it successfully installed the fourth turbine in the Shetland array. The new commercial-direct tidal turbine, “Eunice”, is already powering homes across Shetland and will slash the cost of tidal energy by a third – making tidal energy cost competitive with fossil fuels. Eunice is the first of three turbines set to double the size of the Shetland Tidal Array as part of the EnFAIT project, making tidal energy a commercial reality.

The array itself is now supplied with components manufactured across Europe ,  with suppliers from over 14 EU countries. These suppliers are not limited to countries along the Atlantic shoreline (where Europe’s tidal resource predominantly lies) but are drawn from across the European land mass.

The project is also bringing local economic benefits, with the array powering homes and businesses across Shetland for the past four years. There are more than 60 Scottish companies in the project supply chain, clearly demonstrating the economic case for local tidal energy production.

Project Partners

The pan-European consortium involved in the project has been instrumental in driving down costs. The project partners are:

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