UK Global Leader for Wave & Tidal Energy
Wave and tidal energy devices harness the kinetic energy of the oceans - converting raw, natural power into electricity.
Marine energy is electricity generated from the movement of wave and tidal flows. Wave power is much more predictable than wind power and it increases during the winter, when electricity demand is at its highest. Tidal stream energy is also predictable and consistent.
The UK is currently seen as a world leader and focal point for the development of wave and tidal stream technologies because it has an abundance of marine energy resource. It is estimated the UK has around 50% of Europe’s tidal energy resource. With this excellent marine resource, and expertise in oil and gas exploration, the UK is in a unique position to benefit from this type of renewable energy – and to develop related wave and tidal stream services.
The UK is currently the global leader in marine energy, with more wave and tidal stream devices installed than the rest of the world combined. This leading position is built on an established marine engineering heritage. The UK has created ground-breaking testing facilities, and the best marine energy resource in Europe. Wave and tidal energy combined has the potential to deliver around 20 per cent of the UK’s current electricity needs which equates to an installed capacity of around 30 – 50GW.
A Complex Engineering Challenge
Recent focus has been on proving the technology works and reducing costs through the operation of demonstration devices. The UK is now set to lead the world into the next phase by installing the first wave and tidal energy farms, known as arrays.
Commercial viability is just around the corner and the UK is well placed to capture a significant share of the global market, forecast to be worth £50 billion by 2050.
With some of Europe’s best wave and tidal resources, Orkney, a chain of islands to the north of Scotland is playing a global role in the development of marine renewable energy.
As the home of EMEC, the European Marine Energy Centre, more wave and tidal energy devices have already been deployed in Orkney waters than at any other single site in the world.
Organisations like EMEC, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Orkney Islands Council are working closely with Orkney companies to foster the evolution of this new industry as it moves towards commercial deployment of wave and tidal technologies.
An impressive supply chain of local businesses is geared up to support wave and tidal developers. Many have invested in specialist vessels.
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