UK marine energy developers hope for turning point in 2021. For the past month, a floating platform the length of seven double-decker buses has been moored in waters off Orkney, preparing to generate electricity from the strong tidal currents that flow around the Scottish archipelago.The machine, dubbed the “O2” by its maker Edinburgh-based Orbital Marine Power, generates up to 2MW and is the world’s most powerful tidal energy turbine yet, capable of supplying 2,000 homes with clean electricity. Although its capacity is modest compared with the latest offshore wind turbines that are pushing 14MW, the O2’s launch in April marked a key moment for Britain’s small but ambitious marine energy industry after a challenging few years.UK companies were among the early pioneers of marine energy technologies, which harness the power of the tides and waves to generate electricity, going back more than a decade. But since 2017, when the government cut a key subsidy stream, the sector has struggled to secure funding as it competes with much cheaper, more mature “green” technologies, such as offshore wind, in the only remaining area of state support: the biennial “contracts for difference” renewable energy auctions. A high-profile £1.3bn tidal scheme in Swansea Bay, which involved constructing a 9.5km breakwater was rejected for funding by ministers in 2018 because of the cost. Several early entrants seeking to harness wave power, such as Scotland’s Aquamarine Power and Pelamis, have collapsed. But those that have survived are hoping 2021 will prove a turning point. The 45 UK companies that make up the tidal and wave power sector are pinning their hopes on convincing the government to procure at least 100MW of marine energy capacity at the next auction in December.
FT 1st June 2021 read more »
Giant floating wind farm and green gas scheme in Scotland could be UK’s ‘biggest emissions abatement project to date’. Plans to build a massive 200-turbine floating offshore wind farm and green hydrogen plants in Scotland have been unveiled. The £10 billion infrastructure project would see more than 200 floating turbines anchored in seas around Shetland and the central North Sea and associated onshore facilities creating carbon-free hydrogen.
Scotsman 1st June 2021 read more »