Matthew Rooney, Policy Exchange: Wave energy, tidal lagoons and small modular nuclear reactors. Three technologies that stand on the precipice of mass deployment in the UK, but that are seeking government action to help kick-start their development and bridge the crucial gap between the demonstration phase and commercial viability. The difficulty for government ministers is in assessing the scope for each of these technologies to reduce in cost over time and balancing this against the level of support that would be required to achieve this. Most recently, reports in the media have suggested that the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy is wavering over its support for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, with concerns centring on the “eye-watering” expense of the project. One can never be sure if and by how much costs of a new energy technology will decline. Few people thought wind power could achieve such gains in such a short space of time. Unfortunately, often the only way to find out is to go through the expensive process of an initial build programme. This uncomfortable truth is probably not something government ministers and private sector R&D managers with constrained budgets want to hear.
Business Green 4th Jan 2018 read more »