Photo: Illustration/OpenHydro tidal turbine (Courtesy of Bureau Veritas)

Tidal energy could be one of most viable clean power sources of the future, Bureau Veritas suggests

Welcoming the UK government’s plans to invest in tidal energy industry, certification and advisory company Bureau Veritas has suggested that tidal stream electricity has the potential to become one of the most viable and reliable sources of renewable energy in the world.

Illustration/OpenHydro tidal turbine (Courtesy of Bureau Veritas)
Illustration/OpenHydro tidal turbine (Courtesy of Bureau Veritas)

The UK government investment is – for the first time – part of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, which invites renewable energy companies from across Britain to bid for a share of £285 million of funding for low carbon technologies.

Launched early in December, a total of £20 million per year has been ring-fenced for tidal stream projects, which represents the biggest investment in a generation into tidal power.

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Hailing the move as a positive opportunity for the marine energy sector, Bureau Veritas expressed hope that the investment will build upon the success of the offshore wind sector and provide a viable, and perhaps even stronger, alternative to wind and solar energy generation.

Mauricio Pereira, head of renewable energy at Bureau Veritas, said: “Quite simply, tidal stream electricity has the potential to become one of the lead sources of renewable energies in the world. The energy potential of tides can be predicted for years to come with tidal turbines able to harness the energy of high and low tides down to the minute.

“Additional benefits of the investment into tidal stream electricity include the creation of new ‘green’ jobs, and the potential to re-distribute and upskill employees of fossil fuel industries. It also means that by having more options for renewable energy here in the UK, we’re in a much better position to move away from fossil fuel reliance; a crucial requirement if we’re to keep 1.5 degrees in reach”.

Despite tidal power being a relatively unknown technology and energy source, still in need for additional studies into understanding of the impacts tidal turbines may have on the marine environment – the ring-fenced £20 million in the CfD Scheme is almost on par with that of floating off-shore wind (£24 million), suggesting that the focus to alternative renewable energy sources is well and truly shifting, according to Pereira.

“The funding made available as part of the CfD Scheme will support in allowing the marine energy sector the opportunity to focus on research, rapid innovation and the acceleration required to meet net-zero targets.

“Currently, the cost for tidal power technology is incredibly high, however with the investment the Government is committing to – which will drive an increased focus on R&D – there is the potential for costs to drastically reduce as happened with offshore wind – making tidal energy a tangible option for the future”, Pereira added.