Seven projects secure contracts in the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 5
Seven tidal stream projects have secured contracts in the UK government’s latest renewables auction.
Over 50MW of tidal stream capacity has been contracted, building on the 40MW secured in the previous round.
The Marine Energy Council (MEC) said this was made possible by the government’s international leadership in setting a ring-fenced target. Tidal stream harnesses the power of the gravitational pull of Moon and Sun via floating or sea-bed mounted turbines. It is distinct from tidal lagoons or barrages which require large structures to be built.
Allocation Round 5 (AR5) support could see an additional 53MW, at £198/MWh, of tidal stream capacity deployed in British waters by 2028 across seven projects in Scotland and Wales.
These include SAE Renewables securing 21.94MW of capacity for its project in Pentland Firth, MeyGen, Scotland.
Orbital Marine Power (pictured) bagged 7.2MW and Magallanes was awarded 1.5MW. Both sites are based at the EMEC in Orkney.
In Wales, four projects – Hydrowing (10MW), Verdant (4.9MW), MOR Energy (4.5MW) and Magallanes (3MW) –secured contracts.
MEC said tidal stream, via economies of scale, volume, accelerated learning, and reduction in the cost of deployment, is on a similar cost reduction path as wind and solar.
The cost of deployment will fall as more capacity enters operation, and at 1GW online tidal stream will be cheaper than new nuclear, it added.
MEC policy director Richard Arnold said: “This is a fantastic day for the industry and proof that with the right support tidal stream energy can play a key role in the UK’s future energy mix.
“Successive support in renewable auctions could deliver over 100MW deployed in the UK by 2028.
“This will see more tidal stream projects in UK waters than the rest of the world combined.
“It is critical that the ringfence is maintained in future renewable auctions to realise the UK’s 11GW of tidal stream potential.
“By maintaining the ringfence the government can harness an entirely predictable renewable resource, level up with green jobs in coastal communities, maintain its international leadership and export technology and expertise around the world.”
Orbital Marine Power chief executive Andrew Scott added: “This latest award creates more clarity for us and our supply chain about our immediate ambitions, allowing us to build on our progress to date.
“Securing these latest CfDs is another key step on a path that ends with clean predictable power being delivered to thousands of UK households and businesses, alongside building factories of the future and creating sustainable, green jobs at a ratio that hasn’t been achieved in the renewable space before.
“We maintain our commitment to establishing a valuable supply chain within the UK. Maximising the benefits and rewards from this endeavour will take leadership and long-term commitment from the UK government.”
The Edinburgh-based renewable energy company QED Naval, through its Welsh subsidiary Mor Energy, has been approved for 4.5MW at its Morlais site in North Wales.
The agreement represents 100% of the funding applied for under the CfD scheme.
Jeremy Smith, chief executive of QED Naval, said: “We are delighted with this news and I would like to thank all our shareholders who have backed our ambitious vision and disruptive tidal technology.
“This is a huge vote of confidence in the tidal stream energy sector and will allow us to move forward with our plans to develop the infrastructure and create skilled jobs in the supply chain.
“With a global tidal energy market of £76 billion, and a predicted GVA of £1.4bn by 2030, supporting some 4,000 jobs, the UK has the chance to truly become the frontrunner of the ocean energy market globally.”
Simon Cheeseman, ORE Catapult’s sector lead on wave and tidal energy, said: “We look forward to seeing these tidal developments progressing to deployment and becoming part of our future energy mix.
“In future allocation rounds, we would hope to see an even bigger pot of funding to stimulate the larger projects that industry wants to deliver and drive down tidal energy costs more efficiently.
“As we strive towards reaching 1GW tidal deployment capacity by 2035, the UK’s world leading expertise in tidal stream energy should be capitalised on – for the benefit of our own energy future, as well as fuelling the green energy transition across the world.”