Illustration/ SIMEC Atlantis’ AR1500 tidal turbine for MeyGen project off Scotland (Courtesy of SIMEC Atlantis)

ORE Catapult’s survey reveals strong interest in advancing wave and tidal energy in Scotland

Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has carried out an in-depth survey, on behalf of Crown Estate Scotland in 2023, gathering insights and ideas from individuals working to develop and commercialize the upcoming wave and tidal technologies and projects.

Illustration/ SIMEC Atlantis’ AR1500 tidal turbine for MeyGen project off Scotland (Courtesy of SIMEC Atlantis)

The survey revealed a strong interest in advancing both tidal and wave energy in Scotland. However, as each sector becomes more focused on distinguishing its market position, it’s essential to acknowledge the priorities and challenges.

The report points out that tidal energy is focused on utility-scale and community-scale developments, aiming to supply either large-scale grid networks or meet local demands. 

Meanwhile, the wave sector sees its growth primarily in offshore applications, such as supporting the decarbonization of oil and gas operations and exploring colocation opportunities.

The survey verified that projects in the development phase face several common challenges. These mainly revolve around obtaining consent within set timelines, securing grid connections, and accessing financing, said Crown Estate Scotland.

“We’re delighted to deliver this important survey. There is clear appetite from wave and tidal developers to deploy in Scotland, and Crown Estate Scotland’s review to look at ways to accelerate commercialisation is perfect timing for the marine energy sector that is gearing up to deploy at scale,” said Simon Cheeseman, Sector Lead for Wave & Tidal Energy at ORE Catapult.

The feedback supported Crown Estate Scotland’s current leasing approach, which awards leases for projects up to 30MW on an ad-hoc basis, founded on individual merit against evaluation criteria. However, there’s a suggestion to reconsider the 30MW capacity limit to align with credible future aspirations for tidal projects.

“This feedback from those working on the frontline of the wave energy and tidal stream sectors is invaluable in providing us with the evidence we need to improve processes and support these vital industries to play their part in helping reach net-zero targets,” said Caitlin Byers, Development Manager for Crown Estate Scotland.

“It is clear that the two technologies – wave and tidal – share common challenges in addition to specific barriers; we at Crown Estate Scotland are determined to play our part in addressing those obstacles and to support the tidal and wave energy industries to help Scotland benefit from some of the best tidal and wave energy resources in Europe.”

In April 2024, Andrew Jamieson, the Chief Executive, stepped down from this role, after guiding the organization since its beginning in 2012. 

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