UK marine industry commends tidal and wave energy report

Companies and organizations active in the UK’s marine energy sector have welcomed ORE Catapult’s report which analyzed cost reduction and industrial benefits of tidal stream and wave energy in the UK.

Scotrenewables' SR2000 floating tidal turbine (Photo: Scotrenewables Tidal Power)

The report pointed out that tidal stream in the UK has the potential to significantly reduce costs from approximately £300 per MWh today to below £90 per MWh within 1GW deployment.

The evidence-based assessment has also shown that tidal and wave energy could provide significant economic benefits in terms of exports and job creation in the next 20 years.

Furthermore, ORE Catapult’s study stated that tidal stream requires an immediate route to market via revenue support to enable volume deployment, standardization and the application of existing innovation activity.

Welcoming the report, the Chief Executive of tidal developer Scotrenewables Tidal Power – Andrew Scott – said: “The ORE Catapult study presents a hugely compelling case to implement structured commercial markets for tidal energy that will enable the investment required to build the tidal energy industry in the UK.

“This is an industry with an existing supply chain which can grow substantially more if the right market framework is put in place. There is a massive opportunity to build the tidal sector in the UK and a global export industry, based around skills and technology. And let’s not forget that this industrial opportunity can be realized whilst capturing the environmental, economic and security benefits which come from a predictable renewable energy source.”

Kepler Energy, which plans to deploy a 600MW tidal fence in the Bristol Channel, also welcomed the report but pointed out that ORE Catapult could have substantially under-estimated the total potential of tidal energy in UK waters.

Kepler Energy tidal fence concept (Image: Kepler Energy)

Peter Dixon, Kepler Energy’s Executive Chairman, said: “Kepler Energy welcomes and supports the ORE Catapult report and its conclusions. The good news is that the ORE Catapult may substantially under-estimate the total potential of tidal energy in UK waters, since it appears not to include the lower velocity/shallower tidal waters where other tidal technologies, such as our tidal fence, can be deployed.

“Our tidal energy technology, akin to a water mill and which will use the very latest carbon composite technology, has a lower cost of energy that many other marine energy technologies. In addition, construction of our first tidal fence in the Bristol Channel will require several thousand tonnes per year of carbon fibre for a number of years which will catalyse the UK composites industry, supporting BEIS’s Industrial and Clean Growth Strategies.”

Right government support conditional to fulfill ‘enormous’ tidal and wave potential

Reacting to the report, Hannah Smith, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables – a member organization acting as the voice for Scottish renewable energy sector – said:

“This landmark report clearly demonstrates the enormous potential of our wave and tidal energy industries – should they be able to access the right support from Government.

“Marine renewable energy is not only a valuable source of clean electricity, helping us meet our carbon targets, but can bring diverse benefits to our wider economy too. This report shows that with even modest global deployment the sector could rapidly reduce its costs, drive economic growth in rural communities and export around the world.

“We now need government and industry to work together to enable projects to come forward, capture learning from projects and deliver the benefits of wave and tidal technologies.”

Sian Wilson, Senior Energy & Infrastructure Manager at Crown Estate Scotland, the public body that manages leasing of seabed to support offshore renewables, said:

“With MeyGen Phase 1a now fully operational, the Scotrenewables turbine continuing to produce electricity and Nova Innovation going from strength-to-strength, the industry has achieved what was asked – the continuous production of MWh – proving the generation potential, reliability and predictability.

“This new study shows that tidal has proven technology and can benefit consumers, communities and the climate, with real potential for new jobs and economic growth.”

The study will now be passed to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as well as the Scottish and Welsh Governments, where it is hoped it will pave the way for greater government support, including much needed revenue support in the future.