UK tidal and wave energy can offer significant economic benefits

Scotrenewables offshore vessel The tidal stream and wave energy industries combined could support over 12,000 jobs by 2040. Credit: Scotrenewables Tidal Power

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has published a new evidence-based assessment that shows the UK’s tidal stream and wave energy can significantly boost the economy and meet the requirements of the UK Government’s ‘Triple Test’ for emerging technology support.

According to the report, tidal stream industry could generate a net cumulative benefit to the UK of £1,400m, including considerable exports, and support 4,000 jobs by 2030. Wave energy could add a net positive contribution to the UK economy of £4,000m and support 8,100 jobs by 2040, assuming a 10-year lag behind tidal stream.

Dr Stephen Wyatt, ORE Catapult’s research & innovation director, said: “The findings of our research are encouraging, with the potential for significant economic benefits to be realised from the UK marine energy resources.”

Cost reduction

‘Tidal Stream and Wave Energy Cost Reduction and Industrial Benefit’ also shows that tidal stream has the potential to significantly reduce costs from approximately £300 per MWh today to below £90 per MWh within 1GW deployment and that further reductions are possible with additional focus on innovation and continued reductions in cost of capital.

50-60% of the economic benefit from tidal and wave energy is expected to be created in coastal areas with greater need for economic regeneration, highlighted the report.

Additionally, it stated states that 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.

Carbon reduction

The Triple Test include achieving maximum carbon reduction; showing a clear cost reduction pathway; and demonstrating that the UK can be a world-leader in a global market.

Andrew Scott, chief executive of Scotrenewables Tidal Power, said: “The ORE Catapult study presents a hugely compelling case to implement structured commercial markets for tidal energy that will enable the investment required to build the tidal energy industry in the UK.”

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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