Illustration/Orbital Marine's O2 tidal turbine (Courtesy of Orbital Marine Power)

Industry discusses way forward for tidal power with UK’s net zero minister

The representatives of the UK tidal stream industry have met with Graham Stuart, the minister of the newly launched department for energy security and net zero, to discuss the role of tidal energy in the country’s secure and cost-effective transition to net zero.

Illustration/Orbital Marine's O2 tidal turbine (Courtesy of Orbital Marine Power)
UK tidal stream industry roundtable with with Graham Stuart (Courtesy of UK Marine Energy Council)
UK tidal stream industry roundtable with with Graham Stuart (Courtesy of UK Marine Energy Council)

Tidal stream energy is an entirely predictable, firm renewable power resource, which will have a key role to play in the UK’s future energy mix, according to UK’s Marine Energy Council.

With over 11GW of accessible tidal stream capacity, the UK’s tides could provide over 11% of current electricity demand.

The UK is the world-leader in tidal stream, and its ringfence in the last renewable auction secured over 40MW of capacity across four projects in Scotland and Wales. The industry met with Graham Stuart to discuss how this success can be built upon, and the UK’s leadership maintained.

In March, the UK government is expected to announce the full parameters of the next renewable auction, and whether the tidal stream ringfence will continue.

Graham Stuart, minister at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, said: “Tidal stream energy is a home-grown industry with considerable promise to deliver affordable, clean, secure energy for households and businesses across the country. With a raft of brilliant developers designing and building tidal stream devices in the UK, we currently lead the world in realizing the potential of this important technology.

“The government is committed to working alongside industry in the net zero transition, creating green jobs in coastal communities and beyond, and positioning the UK to be a leader in a growing global export industry.”

Tidal stream energy has already generated over 50GWh of clean electricity to the UK grid. The results of the last renewable auction will see Orbital Marine Power will deliver 7.2MW across two projects in Orkney; MeyGen will deliver 28MW in the Pentland Firth; and Magallanes will deliver 5.6MW in Anglesey.

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The University of Edinburgh estimates that through exporting goods and services worldwide, tidal stream energy could be worth £17 billion gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy by 2050, and with the right policy support the UK could capture 25% of the global market through exports.

Sue Barr, chair of the UK Marine Energy Council, said: “I want to thank the minister for taking the time to meet with the industry. Energy security requires a diverse energy generation mix. It is welcome that the minister met with the industry after the establishment of a new government department with energy security and net zero at its core. Industry is ready to work with government and harness the power of the UK’s seas.

“The UK government demonstrated international leadership in setting the tidal stream ringfence in the last renewable auction. It is imperative that this continues to allow the industry to develop and deliver its broader benefits for the UK.”

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