The UK government has pledged £20 million to go toward developing marine technologies. Expected to start next spring, the money will support two projects in testing prototypes in array formations- the final development stage in generating large scale electricity from marine power prior to commercial roll out.
Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Marine power has huge potential in the UK, not just in contributing to a greener electricity supply and cutting emissions, but in supporting thousands of jobs in a sector worth a potential £15 billion to the economy to 2050. Britain can be a world leader as we have decades of expertise in offshore industries and the most advanced devices are already being developed here.”
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, energy from wave and tidal has the potential to meet 15-20% of the UK’s current electricity demand by 2050.
However, lobbying group The Renewable Energy Association called into question the department’s consistency when issuing funding- last year £42 million was taken away when it closed the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund.
Dr Stephanie Merry, REA’s Head of Marine Renewables, said: “The Government talks of these technologies having the potential to meet 15-20% of the UK’s electricity demand by 2050 and improving our security of supply – but that isn’t going happen unless device and project developers get consistent encouragement over the long term.”
Under the banded Renewables Obligation, wave and tidal technologies currently receive an enhanced level of ROCs for each Megawatt hour of generation produced.