Evidence-based assessment to show how marine renewables meet UK Government’s new technology tests

Published 13 December 2017

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, in conjunction with industry body RenewableUK, has launched a major new initiative to examine how wave and tidal stream technologies can meet new tests set by the UK Government for innovative technologies to secure support.

Announcing the Clean Growth Strategy in October, Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry set out a new ‘triple test’ for determining support for new technologies. The tests are: achieving maximum carbon reduction; showing a clear cost reduction pathway, and demonstrating that the UK can be a world-leader in a global market.

ORE Catapult will work with an industry steering group to produce an evidence-based objective report by the end of March 2018, which will be passed to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as well as the Scottish and Welsh Governments. If the tests are passed, it is hoped that the study will pave the way for greater government support, including much-needed revenue support in the future.

ORE Catapult Chief Executive Andrew Jamieson said: “The UK is already leading the world in deploying the first full-scale tidal power arrays and cutting-edge wave devices. It’s essential that our emerging wave and tidal developers continue to enjoy investor confidence to allow them to be brought to full commercial scale, for the economic opportunity is immense.

“This programme will work with the leading developers to set out a clear way ahead, illustrating the huge potential and ultimately driving new investment, employment, exports and growth across the country.”

RenewableUK is making its member companies aware of the importance of the initiative, to ensure they provide the evidence needed to support the Catapult’s assessment.

RenewableUK CEO Hugh McNeal said: “The marine energy sector is focused on bringing down costs and we welcome the clear criteria set out by Government for supporting new technologies. I’m encouraging all RenewableUK members and other firms in marine renewables to get involved in this work so that we can prove our innovative industries’ long-term potential to Government. I’m confident our world-leading firms are up to this challenge and that the evidence-based assessment by ORE Catapult will bear this out.”

  • The UK has 50% of Europe’s tidal and 35% of its wave energy resource. By 2050, it is estimated that the global market for marine energy will be worth £76bn.
  • The UK deployed the first two commercial tidal arrays in the world. The first of these was installed in 2016 by Nova Innovation off the coast of the Shetlands comprising two 100 kilowatt turbines. This was followed in 2017 by the first stage of Atlantis Resources’ MeyGen array in the Pentland Firth, which comprises four 1.5 megawatt turbines (6MW).
  • The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is the leading global testing site for marine renewables, with over 30 different models tested in the waters off Orkney.
  • Wave Hub helps developers of wave and tidal technologies from around the world to test in open sea conditions off the coast of Cornwall.

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