Tidal power delivers juice for electric vehicles on an island

A tide point for electric vehicles using tidal energy has started offering road users on an island north of mainland Scotland a new, renewable option to drive their cars.

The facility is located on Yell, which is part of Shetland, an archipelago of about 100 islands. The charging point gets electricity from Nova Innovation’s Shetland Tidal Array, a four-turbine installation in Bluemull Sound, a sea strait between Yell and another island called Unst.

In an announcement, Nova Innovation described the project as’ the first electric vehicle … charging point where drivers can ‘fill’ directly from a tidal energy source. A battery storage system was also used to constantly supply vehicles.

The Scottish Government is one of many around the world that wants to move away from vehicles with internal combustion engines. It wants to phase out the need for new diesel and petrol buses and cars by 2030. The funding for the project at Yell comes from Transport Scotland, the country’s transport agency.

Scotland’s strengths

Among those responding to Monday’s announcement about the project on Yell was Fabrice Leveque, head of policy at WWF Scotland.

“It’s great to see how the tidal technology is being used to carbonate part of Scotland’s transport sector on the islands,” he said. skilled, green work. ‘

“Our islands have an abundance of renewable resources, including wind, tides and solar power, which, if used with care, could bring several economic and social benefits to remote and rural communities in Scotland,” Leveque said.

The waters around Scotland are home to a number of interesting tidal power projects. This includes the first phase of the development of the tidal stream of MeyGen, which uses four 1.5 megawatt turbines. The majority owner of the project is the London-listed Simec Atlantis Energy.

Although there is excitement about the potential of marine energy, its current footprint remains small. Recent figures from Ocean Energy Europe (OEE) show that only 260 kilowatts (kW) of tidal current capacity was added in Europe last year, while only 200 kW of wave energy was installed. By contrast, according to industry body WindEurope, 2020 installed 14.7 gigawatts of wind energy capacity in Europe.

While tides still have a long way to go to catch up with other renewable sources such as wind and solar, it does have one potential advantage: predictability. Tidal currents, says OEE, “are caused by the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon.” The fact that the generation of tidal energy is influenced by “known cycles of the moon, sun, and earth” rather than the weather means “this is predictable hundreds of years in advance.”

The importance of infrastructure

If countries want to sharpen their supply of electric vehicles in the coming years and move away from petrol and diesel, reliable and adequate charging infrastructure is crucial.

Adequate charging options will also help challenge the perceptions surrounding ‘serial anxiety’, a term that refers to the idea that electric vehicles cannot undertake long journeys without losing power and getting stuck.

Although the project at Yell is on a small scale, it is part of a larger shift focusing on the development of charging infrastructure.

The UK’s first forecourt dedicated to charging electric vehicles, for example, opened in December last year, while the Volkswagen Group wants to significantly increase the number of charging facilities in Europe, North America and China.

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