UK Taking a Global Lead in Tidal Energy

The source of the UK’s opportunity to lead in the development of tidal energy is our geography. The tidal flows in and out of our coastal regions are sufficiently strong and numerous enough to provide Britain with 50 per cent of Europe’s tidal stream energy capacity, or 10 to 15 per cent of the global resource.

At the heart of the development the British Company, The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, which has provided a global test bed for over 30 tidal and wave technologies from all around the world. These all feed into what has become an almost wholly renewable-energy grid in Orkney, the excess power being used to make hydrogen, used locally in a variety of fuel, power and heat applications. At the same time they are boosting the local and UK economies to the tune of £306.3m gross value added (GVA) and 452 jobs. All for an initial investment of £36m.

On the back of this progress in Scotland, commercial tidal energy sites in the Isle of Wight (Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre) and Wales (Morlais) are on the cusp of gaining environmental consent to start operations, with a view to generating electricity into the grid, some as early as 2025. They are underpinned by over 20 supply chain companies around the UK, all chafing at the bit to move into full commercialisation in the next round of government energy auctions. The intentions are to deliver the at-scale turbine deployments that will consolidate the UK’s technological lead, continue to reduce the price of tidal energy, and put Britain at the forefront of commercial development.

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