GB£10m to help commercialise tidal projects

OpenHydro's test rig OpenHydro's test rig at the EMEC tidal test site. Credit: Mike Brookes-Roper

A GB£10m fund to help commercial deployment of tidal projects in Scottish waters has been launched by the Scottish Government with the aim of driving innovation and reducing the cost of electricity generated.

To be eligible for the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund, projects must relate to the capital costs of developing a material/technical innovation aimed at reducing the cost of tidal energy; demonstrate the requirement for, and added value of, Scottish Government support; be deployed in Scottish waters no later than March 2020; and demonstrate potential to have a positive social and economic impact on Scotland including collaboration across the Scottish supply chain.

Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: "This new fund will help tidal energy developers innovate and lower costs – crucial when many are deploying devices which can already reliably produce electricity, but which are locked out of the energy market because they must compete with technologies like offshore wind, which has secured support to deploy at scale and deliver staggering cost reductions.”

Continuing investment

The fund follows the GB£30m committed to date by the Scottish Government to Wave Energy Scotland (WES), and a further GB£10m proposed for WES in 2019/20. Scotland is home to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the world’s largest tidal stream array; and the world’s most powerful tidal stream turbine.

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, stated the “investment climate has been harmed by the UK Government’s decision in 2016 to remove a ring-fenced subsidy for marine energy and by the parallel uncertainties caused by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.”

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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