Home » Tidal stream shows its worth in UK energy auction

Tidal stream shows its worth in UK energy auction

by Mark Cantrell
Tidal project to put Wales at 'cutting-edge of renewable energy innovation

Europe’s tidal stream sector has received a resounding vote of confidence in the UK renewable energy auction, according to a body representing ocean energy professionals.

The auction, held under the UK government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, saw almost £30m (€35m) per year of revenue support go to 11 projects.

This will, according to Ocean Energy Europe (OEE), provide much-needed long-term certainty and stimulate private investment.

Seven developers, including British, Spanish and US companies, secured contracts to develop a total of 53MW of tidal stream energy across four locations in the UK.

By supporting a wide range of technologies and sites, it is said these awards will enable the scale-up of multiple device types, and maximise the benefits to local communities.

Remi Gruet, OEE’s chief executive, said: “[These] results from the UK reflect the growing confidence in tidal stream, and show that dedicated revenue support can instantly generate investable projects.

“Since last year’s auction, the sector has stepped up, and the number of projects winning contracts shows that tidal energy is becoming increasingly mature.

“Now the EU must also step up, and help create a level playing field for ocean energy so it can realise its full potential as a mainstream renewable energy source.”

In Scotland, projects led by Orbital Marine Power and SAE Renewables will deliver almost 30MW, while Hydrowing, Verdant Power, and MOR Energy will bring nearly 20MW of capacity to Wales.

Spanish developer Magallanes has received contracts for projects in both Scotland and Wales, totalling 4.5MW.

OEE says this is a “timely reminder” for the EU, which is currently reviewing its Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy, of the importance of long-term political and financial visibility in accelerating the development of ocean energy.

Europe’s industrial competitiveness depends on the growth of emerging sectors such as these, the organisation adds: Recent funding and policy commitments in China and the US show that they are “hot on the tail” of Europe’s long-standing leadership in ocean energy.

Richard Arnold, policy director at the UK’s Marine Energy Council, said the outcome of the auction was “fantastic for the industry” and “proof” that with the right support tidal stream energy can play a key role in the UK’s future energy mix.

“Successive support in renewable auctions could deliver over 100MW deployed in the UK by 2028,” he added. “This will see more tidal stream projects in UK waters than the rest of the world combined.

“By maintaining the ringfence the government can harness an entirely predictable renewable resource, level up with green jobs in coastal communities, maintain its international leadership and export technology and expertise around the world.”

Credit: Breedfoto/Shuttershock

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