Renewable energy experts have urged the government to offer more support for tidal stream and wave energy.
A report by consultant Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult) claims that the UK’s marine energy industries meet the requirements for further support.
The government’s clean growth strategy says that to qualify for government support, projects must: achieve maximum carbon reduction, show a clear cost reduction pathway and demonstrate that Britain could be a leader in the global market.
The report says that the tidal stream industry could generate a net cumulative benefit to the UK of £1.4bn and support 4,000 jobs by 2030. It says wave energy could add a net positive contribution to the UK economy of £4bn and support 8,100 jobs by 2040.
ORE Catapult’s research and innovation director Stephen Wyatt said: “The findings of our research are encouraging, with the potential for significant economic benefits to be realised from the UK marine energy resources.
“We will now continue our work with the tidal stream and wave energy industries, as well as relevant government departments, to discuss these findings and establish the best way forward for future support that will enable the UK to capture such advantage, in terms of growing our economy, creating jobs and exporting goods and services all over the world.”
Tidal stream power schemes require revenue support to enable volume deployment, standardisation and the application of existing innovation, and ongoing research and development funding. Wave energy requires continued research and development funding support to achieve technology convergence and prove survivability and reliability, the report said.
Renewable UK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “The UK has led the world in developing tidal stream and wave technologies, and this report shows that marine renewables could follow the UK’s offshore wind industry in achieving significant cost reductions.
“What we need now, to ensure that the UK capitalises on marine energy, is a supportive framework from the government to provide certainty for investors with stable revenues.
“Developing these technologies here in the UK will secure investment and jobs in coastal communities, rather than letting our global advantage slip away to competitors. Already, we are exporting our world-beating marine energy expertise across Europe and as far afield as China and the Americas; these are new markets with enormous scope for growth in the decades ahead.”
The report will be handed to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Scottish and Welsh governments.