Nova Innovation

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The Challenge

Climate change is the biggest global challenge of this generation.

To tackle the climate emergency, we need to reduce carbon emissions on a massive scale and move away from fossil fuels. Simultaneously, the world’s demand for energy continues to increase.

Renewable energy is essential for our future, but solar and wind are not sufficient to bridge the gap on their own. The sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow.

We need new sources of predictable renewable energy to complement wind and solar.

The Solution...Tidal Energy

Tidal Energy

Tidal quote

What is tidal energy?

  • Tidal energy is generated from the movement of water in our seas and oceans.

  • Tides are the name given to the rise and fall of sea levels around the world. They are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun on the earth.

  • The rise and fall of the tide results in large volumes of water flowing from one place to another. When the tide turns, water flows in the opposite direction. This cycle repeats day after day, and is predictable.

What is Tidal Energy?

Moon over water

Why tidal energy?

  • The tide is one of the strongest forces of nature on Earth and it remains largely untapped as a source of energy.

  • Unlike other renewables, tidal energy is predictable to the minute – months, years and even decades in advance.

  • Nova’s underwater tidal turbines have no visual impact on the landscape. They are completely hidden beneath the surface of the sea, with none of the visual issues faced by wind, solar and conventional fossil fuels.

  • Nova’s tidal turbines work in harmony with the natural environment, with no barriers or barrages.

  • Water is 830 times denser than air. The high density of water means tidal energy has a much higher energy density than wind power. Tidal energy can generate the same amount of power as wind in a far smaller area.

The two types of Tidal Energy - Tidal Stream and Tidal Barrage/Lagoon

Both use the natural ebb and flow of the tide to generate clean predictable electricity but how they do it is not the same. The table below compares the two with their relative merits:

The different kinds of tidal energy technology


Tidal stream


Tidal Barrage


Captures energy from the moving water in the tide using devices that look like underwater wind turbines. The flow of water causes the blades to spin and generate electricity.
Involves building a specialised dam across the width of a river/estuary to take advantage of the change in the tide levels to produce power. A tidal lagoon works on the same principle, but the dam walls form a loop from the shore, rather than across the width of the river.

Technology provider

This the type of tidal energy Nova Innovation develops
Others – these tend to major civil engineering infrastructure projects


- No visual impact
- Small environmental footprint
- Quick build time
- Lower cost
- Long life
- No navigational impact
- Can be developed on a large scale as part of a wider infrastructure project
- Long operating life


Currently smaller scale but capacity will increase as the industry matures
- Large environmental footprint upstream and downstream of the barrage. The footprint is reduced by using lagoons, but the environmental footprint is still significant
- Visual Impact
- Expensive
- Long build period
- Navigational impact

Progress over the last 5 years

- World’s first tidal turbine arrays have become operational
- New projects sanctioned and under construction
- Technological advancements lowering the cost of tidal stream energy
No new tidal barrage or lagoons have been approved or built

What is different about Nova Innovation?

  • Nova Innovation is at the leading edge of tidal technology – we design, build and operate tidal turbines that generate electricity from the ebb and flow of the tide

  • Nova’s underwater turbines have zero visual impact and work in harmony with the natural marine environment

  • Nova turbines can be installed in deep water, shallow water, estuaries and large rivers

  • In 2016, Nova installed the world’s first offshore tidal array – three turbines located in Shetland, Scotland. The turbines have been generating clean energy and exporting to the national grid for over four years.

  • In 2018, Nova worked with Tesla to create energy storage alongside the tidal technology. This created the world’s first grid connected tidal power station able to deliver energy on demand.

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