Wave and tidal energy firms are warning that changes in government support may force them to take jobs and investment overseas. They say the UK government’s switch to a system known as Contracts for Difference leaves them without access to ring-fenced support. They claim it fails to recognise the extra costs of new technologies. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said it has to ensure best value for consumers. Under the Contracts for Difference scheme, power generators compete to secure a minimum price guarantee by offering the lowest price they can. But some in the marine renewables sector argue it still requires ring-fenced subsidies, as the technology develops. James Murray from Scotrenewables told BBC Radio Orkney: “Other countries now are starting to recognise the benefits of supporting the early stages of the industry. Countries such as France and Canada have put in place appropriate levels of revenue support for first array projects. It would be a terrible shame, but it does look like unless the UK government changes its mind that we might have to do our first commercial projects there instead.”
BBC 1st Nov 2017 read more »
A flagship government push to exploit wave power as the energy of the future has been undermined by a string of “failures” despite Â£200 million of investment, new research indicates. A long-term strategy to create a commercial wave energy device is now needed to ensure it features in the UK’s future power mix, a Strathclyde University reports stated. The demise of the once-feted industry has been a blow for Scotland’s renewables ambitions. Recent years saw pioneering Edinburgh-based wave firms Pelamis and Aquamarine wound up because they couldn’t make a success of the technology. A poor understanding of the scale of the challenge in mastering wave energy was highlighted in today’s report, as well as a premature emphasis on array-scale commercialisation and a lack of test facilities. Matthew Hannon, Chancellor’s Fellow of Tec hnology and Innovation at Strathclyde Business School, said: “The report’s findings are aimed primarily at government and industry in a bid to help improve the effectiveness of future wave energy innovation support in the UK and accelerate the technology’s journey towards commercialisation.” Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, called on government to “provide a viable mechanism to ensure the sector’s continued development”, adding failure to do so “would risk losing Scotland’s lead in this global industry”. The research was carried out by the Strathclyde team in conjunction with Imperial College London and focused on the failure to develop “market-ready” wave energy devices and where government and industry support fell short. Rapidly changing, poorly co-ordinated policies and a lack of knowledge exchange between technology developers was also blamed.
Scotsman 2nd Nov 2017 read more »
SCOTLAND’S position as wave power world leader could be lost after Brexit, it is claimed. Scottish Renewables, which represents the green energy sector, says economic and environmental benefits are at risk unless long-term funding is secured to replace EU funding. The claim comes as a new study into the Brexit threat to the developing industry is published. The Carbon Trust estimates the method could deliver enough energy to cover around 20 per cent of the UK’s total annual electricity needs, based on usage in 2015. But the paper, by Strathclyde University and Imperial College London, says the technology could sink without the financial support of the bloc. It has taken £200 million in research and development funding since 2000 to get the industry to its current position – but despite its lauded potential, it has yet to becom e commercial. While the researchers say the UK has become “much better placed” to deliver a commercial wave energy device, they claim this could be derailed by Brexit as innovation funding and international collaboration falls away. The report recommends that Scotland must now develop its own long-term strategy, stating: “With the UK Government significantly reducing its support for wave energy and the threat of EU funds being withdrawn after Brexit, the Scottish Government could find itself acting alone in developing wave energy technology. “Consequently, a strategy must be put in place that presents a credible path towards delivering a commercial wave energy device in Scotland that is resilient to the potential withdrawal of UK Government and/or EU funds.”
The National 2nd Nov 2017 read more »