UK launches consultation to support marine renewables

The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched a consultation on how the government can support marine energy projects, such as floating offshore windfarms, tidal stream and wave energy.

The consultation will invite views from developers and other interested parties on how projects could be funded; how costs could be reduced; how the environmental impacts can best be handled; and how supply chains could benefit in the nations and regions of the UK.

The new consultation builds on the UK’s success in renewable energy so far, with more offshore wind capacity than any other country in the world and well over a third of its energy now coming from renewables.

Secretary of State for Business and Energy, Alok Sharma, said:

“As an island nation we are perfectly placed to capitalise on clean marine energy, building on our world-leading position in offshore wind.

“Examining how to make the most of our natural resources and support marine technologies that are cost-effective for the consumer will be crucial as we build back better, creating green jobs and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.”

The government believes that marine technologies could benefit every part of the UK.

For example, tidal stream projects that harness the energy of tides could be suitable for the Highlands and Islands and North Wales, while floating offshore wind turbines could be suitable for deeper waters off the coast of Scotland, Wales and South West England.

The call for evidence comes after the recent consultation on the fourth round of the successful Contracts for Difference auction. This new consultation builds on that work to provide the government with evidence to base its decisions on future support for marine renewables.

Several respondents to that consultation noted that both floating offshore wind and other marine energy technologies had potential to achieve similar cost reductions to fixed offshore wind, and that they could enable full use of the UK’s offshore energy resource.

The UK government is therefore seeking further views on the scope and potential of these technologies to better our understanding of the scale and location of projects that are in development, the opportunities they offer, the timescales for their development, and the challenges that they may face.