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UK Wave & Tidal Energy Projects Update

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09.03.2015

Update on UK Wave & Tidal Energy Projects

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.

The Carbon Trust has produces a number of useful papers on the wave and tidal energy industry including resource assessments and cost reduction methodologies.

The Crown Estate, the owner of the seabed around the UK with a stewardship role, continues to play an important part in the development of wave and tidal technologies. 

Wave and Tidal Knowledge Network

The Wave and Tidal Knowledge Network portal was developed by The Crown Estate in collaboration with industry and is now managed by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult which was set up by the UK Government.

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult has a mission to accelerate development, testing, commercialisation and deployment of offshore renewable energy including offshore wind, wave and tidal energy.

Wave & Tidal Stream Farms - Buliding & Operations

The ground-breaking Seagen Tidal Stream Generator has been operating in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland since 2008.

The world’s first Tidal Stream Farm, also known as an ‘array’, is currently under construction at the Meygen Inner Sound project in the Pentland Firth, Scotland.

There are several other wave and tidal stream array projects under development in the UK and the sector has ambitions of ten arrays reaching financial close by 2020 across Europe, with the UK well placed for the lion’s share of this to be built in its waters.

Source: RenewableUK

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The state of the art test facilities at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney and Wavehub in Cornwall provide developers with access to real sea conditions with planning consents and grid connections already in place.

A planning application for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is under consideration by the Planning Inspectorate with a decision expected in 2015. This will be another landmark achievement for the UK as the world’s first tidal lagoon.

Tidal Lagoons are similar to Barrages, but can be constructed as self contained structures instead of fully enclosing an estuary. As the tide increases the lagoon is filled with water and emptied during low tide. Like Barrages, the outflow water passes through hydroelectric turbines to generate electricity, but Tidal Lagoons differ in that the inflowing water can also pass through the turbines to generate more electricity. 

UK Global Leader for Wave & Tidal Energy

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.

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