Tidal energy sector can cut costs to £90 per MWh and create up to 4,000 new jobs with wave power industry – new Brit-Govt report

Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive of Atlantis Resources, and Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, watch the recent unloading of one of the tidal turbines before being deployed in the Meygen subsea tidal generating array off Caithness – which is one of the world’s largest such tidal power sites
Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive of Atlantis Resources, and Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, watch the recent unloading of one of the tidal turbines before being deployed in the Meygen subsea tidal generating array off Caithness – which is one of the world’s largest such tidal power sites

A new cost-benefit analysis of the wave and tidal energy sector shows that the sector can hit the ‘triple targets’ set by the Brit-govt.

When she launched the Clean Growth Strategy last year, Claire Perry, MP, and junior energy minister, set out a new ‘Triple Test’ for determining support for new technologies. These tests are:

  1. achieving maximum carbon reduction
  2. showing a clear cost reduction pathway, and
  3. demonstrating that the UK can be a world-leader in a global market.

Now, the Tidal Stream and Wave Energy Cost Reduction and Industrial Benefit compiled by an offshore energy development quango (OREC) shows that the industry could hit  these targets; eg: 

GVA and Jobs Supported

The tidal stream industry – where like wind – Scotland has the biggest UK and/or EU resources –  could generate a net cumulative benefit to the UK of £1,400m, including considerable exports, and support 4,000 jobs by 2030.

Assuming a 10-year lag behind tidal stream, wave energy could add a net positive contribution to the UK economy of £4,000 million and support 8,100 jobs by 2040.

50-60% of the economic benefit is expected to be created in coastal areas with greater need for economic regeneration.

Carbon Emissions Reduction

Marine energy technologies have the potential to displace natural gas generation on the grid and to reduce CO2 emissions permanently by at least 1MtCO2 per year after 2030 and at least 4MtCO2 per year after 2040. 

Cost Reduction

Tidal stream has the potential to significantly reduce costs from approximately £300 per MWh today to below £90 per MWh within 1GW deployment.

Further reductions are possible with additional focus on innovation and continued reductions in cost of capital.

Dr Stephen Wyatt, OREC research director, commented: “In terms of the type of future support required, the report found that the technologies’ needs differed due to their maturity levels.

“Tidal stream requires an immediate route to market via revenue support to enable volume deployment, standardisation and the application of existing innovation activity, as well as ongoing research and development funding to further enhance the technology and solutions available.

“Wave energy requires continued research and development funding support to achieve technology convergence and prove survivability and reliability.

“The report will now be passed to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Scottish Government and Welsh assembly, where it is hoped it will pave the way for greater government support, including much needed revenue support in the future.”

Atlantis tidal power giant zeroes in on new projects in Japan

Meanwhile, Atlantis Resources has signed a partnership with Xodus Group to pursue a new tidal energy project in Japan.

The agreement is to secure funding and establish a commercially viable tidal energy demonstration project of three to eight turbines in the country.

Atlantis is a global developer of renewable energy projects with more than 1,000 megawatts in various stages of development including the world’s flagship tidal stream project, MeyGen.

3 May 2018

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