The potential of the UK’s world-leading tidal- and wave-power sectors is laid out in a report released at the end of last month by the UK Marine Energy Council and Scottish Renewables.
The technology’s successes to date – including the world’s first grid-connected tidal array in the Shetland Isles – are outlined in the document; it also sets out an economic blueprint for the sectors, which remain “effectively locked out of the UK energy market”.
Sue Barr, chairman of the Marine Energy Council, says that the proposed ‘innovation power purchase agreement’ model provides a framework for small-scale tidal and wave technologies to deploy devices in UK waters, while also securing a market for the power they produce.
She said: “The UK’s tidal-stream sector has achieved phenomenal results to date, with 10MW of operational capacity already deployed in our seas, proving the technology while providing economic and environmental benefits from Cornwall to Orkney, and our wave sector is not far behind.
“Despite our world lead in these technologies, both tidal-stream and wave power are effectively locked out of the UK energy market by a system which means they must compete with proven technologies — such as fixed offshore wind — that have achieved significant cost reductions, having been granted a market mechanism by government.
“If we as a country really want to reap the benefits of building these sectors in the UK, now is the time to act.
“The industry has come together to deliver these recommendations to government, offering a sensible plan to scale up the development of both tidal-stream and wave power in the UK, and we look forward to working with them on these proposals over the coming months.”
Barnaby Wharton, head of policy and regulation at RenewableUK, said: “The UK is a global leader in innovative marine energy projects, building up a new industry that is bringing economic benefits around the country, especially in coastal areas.
"This report makes a strong case for the Government to establish a route to market for this ground-breaking technology, using incentives such as tax rebates for companies that sign power purchase agreements with marine power projects.”