Luke Clark exclusively reveals RenewableUK’s plans to work with the ORE Catapult, to prove marine energy can meet government’s key benchmarks. The UK is the global leader in wave and tidal power. We have installed the first two commercial tidal stream arrays in the world off the coast of Shetland and in the Pentland Firth. We’re at the cutting edge of new technology: last month the new Scotrenewables tidal turbine smashed the record for generating one gigawatt hour of power in testing at the European Marine Energy Centre in the waters off Orkney – where more devices have been tested than anywhere else in the world. Wave Hub off the coast of Cornwall is one of the largest and most advanced testing sites in the world. We are building on the UK’s existing maritime economy and expertise to create new industrial clusters in coastal communities across the UK. But the UK’s marine renewables sector is now at a crossroads, the point in time where research and development must be translated into further deployment and commercialisation. This step, however, is throwing up a new set of challenges. Our global leadership in innovation has not yet translated into developing a UK market for wave and tidal technologies. Under the current set up of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, marine renewables have to compete against technologies which have already deployed at scale in the UK and been able to cut their costs, such as offshore wind. The last CfD auction secured over 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind and zero megawatts of wave and tidal. As currently set up, the CfD will not help us build a market for these world-leading technologies. By 2050, it is estimated that the global market for marine energy will be worth £76bn, so much is at stake. Other countries, including France, Ireland, the USA, Canada and China, are watching us closely and getting into the game. They will capitalise on our hard work if we allow them to do so. Last week, RenewableUK and our members spoke with the Energy Minister Richard Harrington and other MPs at a meeting of the Marine Energy All-Party Parliamentary Group. It was clear from this meeting that there is support across the political spectrum but that to succeed, the marine sector has to provide clearer evidence on the vital role it can play in providing clean power for our island nation. That is precisely what we are hoping to achieve with a new initiative RenewableUK has launched with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.
Business Green 11th Dec 2017 read more »