WAVE and tidal power could be worth tens of billions to the UK economy, according to research published yesterday. The report is by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the UK body supporting innovation and rapid commercialisation in offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies. Their research highlights that the strategically important market could be worth around £76bn to the UK economy cumulatively by 2050. Scotland is acknowledged as a world leader in both tidal and wave energy development, but the report states that funding for first arrays and technology proving has become less certain as investors have been either unwilling to spend, or have been pulling out of the market due to lack of clarity on future investment return and timing. The report states: “More investment from both the public and private sectors is needed to get the first tidal arrays to financial close, and drive the wave industry along the path to commercial readiness – it is estimated the tidal industry may need upwards of £100 million and the wave industry almost double that.” According to ORE Catapult, with an expected output of 100MW per year in the UK from 2021-22, and a realistic share of a growing global market, the UK tidal stream industry could generate a net cumulative benefit of £1.4bn by 2030, consisting of £1.6bn GVA from the domestic market and £1.1bn GVA from exports, offset by £1.3bn of revenue support. This would support a total of almost 4000 jobs by 2030 and 14,500 by 2040. Assuming a 10-year lag behind tidal stream, wave energy will also add a net positive contribution to the UK economy of £4bn by 2040.
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