Important boost for European tidal stream sector with over 50MW allocated in UK auction
Europe’s tidal stream sector received a resounding vote of confidence in today’s UK renewable energy auction results, under its Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. £29m (€34m) of revenue support will go to 11 projects, providing much-needed long-term certainty and stimulating 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, the awards will enable the scale-up of multiple device types and maximise the benefits to local communities.
In Scotland, projects led by Orbital Marine Power and SAE Renewables will deliver almost 30MW, whilst 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.
This is a timely reminder for the EU, 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. Recent funding and policy commitments in China and the US show that they are hot on the tail of Europe’s longstanding leadership in ocean energy.
The revised Strategy should therefore build on its original vision with new targets and clear funding paths. The EU must also encourage Member States to provide both ambitious targets, revenue support schemes and simplified permitting for ocean energy at a national level.
Remi Gruet, Ocean Energy Europe’s CEO, said: “Today’s 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 particular, a new, improved EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, will play a key role in making that happen.”
Richard Arnold, Policy Director at the UK’s Marine Energy Council, added: “This is a fantastic day 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. 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.”