Price support mechanisms must be used to encourage marine energy uptake.
That’s according to a new report published by the Marine Energy Council and Scottish Renewables, which has unveiled detailed proposals for how these could be introduced.
It notes the UK boasts a significant marine energy resource, totalling 50% of Europe’s tidal energy and 35% of its wave energy and calls for the government and industry to help this potential be fully realised.
Around 1,700 people are currently employed in the UK’s marine energy sector, with predictions for this to rise to 22,600 jobs by 2040.
The report suggests the global ocean energy industry will be worth £76 billion by 2050 and could help meet international carbon targets as well as create a versatile and reliable energy system.
It calls for innovation power purchase agreement (iPPA) and innovation Contracts for Difference (iCfD) policies to be introduced to provide market incentives for the technology – it proposes government-backed iPPAs for wave and tidal streams of up to 5MW, with the scheme capped at 120MW overall.
It suggests the first of these projects would receive £290 per MWh, “digressing by 15% at every 30MW allocation”.
The report states the iCfD would allow wave, tidal, floating wind and advanced conversion technologies of between 5MW and 100MW to better compete with offshore wind.
It stresses consumers should not bear the costs of innovation on their energy bills, with costs to be covered by a tax rebate, and argues the mechanisms would support new technology development at a scale that allows initial cost reduction and product innovation,