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Tidal power technologies win ringfenced CfD funding in the UK
The UK government is to invest £20mn/y in tidal stream electricity as part of its renewable energy auction scheme, potentially starting a new chapter for the tidal industry and creating jobs across the UK.
As part of the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) Scheme due to open next month, the government will ensure that £20mn/y will be ringfenced for tidal stream projects, giving the marine energy sector a chance to develop its technology and lower costs in a similar way to the UK’s offshore wind industry.
History has illustrated the effectiveness of the scheme’s design in keeping costs down, says the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Between the first allocation round in 2015 and the most recent round in 2019, the price per unit of offshore wind fell by around 65%.
Tidal energy has the potential to be an exceptionally reliable source of generation, given the predictability of the tides. Including this in the UK’s low-carbon energy mix will make it easier to match supply with demand, says BEIS. Over time, marine technologies have the potential to significantly contribute to UK decarbonisation commitments and could support hundreds of green jobs across the country, with projects currently in development in north-west Scotland, north Wales and the southern coast of England.
Responding to the announcement in the next CfD auction, RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail said: ‘This is a major step forward for the UK's world class tidal energy industry, allowing us to ramp up the roll-out of our cutting-edge marine technologies and increase the pace of innovation in the sector to become more cost-competitive. Ringfenced funding for tidal stream doesn't just unlock private investment and secure green jobs – it also puts us in pole position to lead the global market in due course.’
Tidal turbine device from SIMEC Atlantis Energy
Photo: European Marine Energy Centre