TIGER project puts tidal energy in UK and France back on track
The Tidal Stream Industry Energiser Project (TIGER) has demonstrated the significant value tidal stream energy can bring to the future energy mix, economies and supply chains in both the UK and France.
TIGER is the largest project funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England Program, launched in 2019 and with €48.4 million invested to drive collaboration and cost reduction through tidal turbine installations in the UK and France.
The project, led by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, has enabled installation of four new tidal stream energy devices at test sites in and around the Channel region, with a further 16 in development.
This has created a total of 3.6MW new tidal capacity, with a further 57.4 MW in the pipeline.
Simon Cheeseman, ORE Catapult’s wave and tidal sector specialist, said: “TIGER has been hugely influential in showcasing the benefits of tidal stream energy.
“We have forecast that tidal stream could provide 11% of the UK’s electricity needs by 2050 and drawn up a route map for technology innovation to drive down tidal stream energy cost from its present £260/MWh (€299/MWh) to £49-55/MWh (€56-63/MWh) by 2050.
“Tidal stream is also predictable, reducing energy system storage costs by £100 million per annum, and this saving could be as much as £600 million (€691 million) at £40/MWh (€46/MWh). TIGER has effectively put the sector back on track to make a meaningful contribution to the future energy mix.”
Instrumental to the success of the project was collaboration between the 18 TIGER partners across the UK and France, spanning turbine developers, ocean energy demonstration sites, research organizations, and local and regional authorities, each supporting the tidal industry as it moves towards commercialization.
The project included real world demonstrations and published scientific research industry reports, which do not only demonstrate the cost reduction trajectory that can be achieved, they also show how the UK and France can generate over 80% of materials from the local supply chain, create up to 45 jobs per MW deployed – exceeding the wind and solar industries, and contribute up to £17 billion (€19.6 billion) to the UK economy by 2050.
These project outputs have positively contributed to three TIGER developers successfully accessing £20 million (€23 million) per annum of tidal stream energy generation subsidy awards, through the UK Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme and new discussions have opened on French tidal stream feed-in-tariffs.
For the tidal energy sector in the Channel region, the tidal energy capacity is predicted to be nearly 4GW, which is enough to power up to four million homes.
Carly Tait, project manager at EMEC for TIGER, said: “Today, companies who four years ago were working on prototype device development, are now looking at multiple device deployments and volume manufacture.
“With continued investment, tidal stream energy could become the renewable energy of choice in coastal locations, with strong tidal currents around headlands and islands globally, generating clean, green energy to combat the climate emergency.”
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