UK needs 27 GW of wave energy to reach cost-effective net-zero energy system, report says

To deliver a cost-effective net-zero energy system and with electricity consumption potentially trebling by 2050, the UK should seek to harness 27 GW of wave energy, according to research by Finland’s LUT University.

LUT University investigated a series of potential scenarios for the UK and Ireland to successfully transition towards a 100% renewable energy system by 2050. The best-performing scenario in terms of managing energy system cost and security forecast that the UK should seek to harness 27 GW wave energy capacity.

The report came days after CorPower Ocean announced it had completed the first cycle of the ocean commissioning for its first commercial-scale wave energy device.

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According to Marine Energy Council Policy Director Richard Arnold, it is critical that the UK Government provides a clear route to market and supports the wave energy industry investing in coastal communities and beyond.

Arnold noted that the UK Government has an opportunity to embed UK content in marine energy projects deployed in its waters and around the world and the Marine Energy Council is calling for a consistent route to market for wave energy with clear and ambitious targets of at least 300 MW deployed by 2035.

“CorPower Ocean’s commercial-scale breakthroughs in Portugal demonstrates that wave energy is ready to realise its crucial role in a secure and cost-effective transition to net zero. LUT University’s compelling report reinforces the importance of wave energy in the UK’s energy transition. The UK has the maritime expertise, offshore engineering experience and supply chains to lead the world in harnessing wave energy,” Arnold said.

LUT University’s research ultimately concluded that a broad combination of renewables must be applied in the UK with storage, sector coupling, and flexibility to reach 100% renewable energy. This will involve a mix of renewables including wind, solar, wave, tidal, geothermal, biomass and hydropower, as researchers believe a fossil-nuclear approach with less sustainability and higher costs can be avoided.

Christian Breyer, Professor for Solar Economy at LUT University, who led the study, said: “Wave power has a high potential globally, in Europe and in particular along the Atlantic coasts in the UK and Ireland. For the first time we could show the high economic attractiveness of wave power for the entire energy system, which has to be now enabled with the right general framework for wave power.”

A recent report published by the University of Edinburgh found deployment of just 6 GW of tidal stream and wave each will lead to a reduction in energy system cost of over £1 billion per annum. In line with this, Offshore Wind Consultants (OWC) found co-locating wave and wind will lead to a 12% cost reduction for both technologies.

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