The levelised cost of tidal energy is forecast to halve to £150 per megawatt-hour once 100MW of capacity is installed in the UK, according to a new report by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.
Tidal stream will fall further to £90/MWh at the 1GW mark and £80/MWh at 2GW from the current cost of around £300/MWh, said the Tidal Stream and Wave Energy Cost Reduction and Industrial Benefit study – which was first reported by the reNEWS All-Energy 2018 show daily preview.
The report also calls for the introduction of an “immediate route to market via revenue support” for tidal.
If supported, the sector could generate a net cumulative benefit to the UK of £1.4bn and support 4000 jobs by 2030. Wave energy is some 10 years behind tidal but could support 8100 jobs in the UK by 2040 and add £4bn to the economy.
The report also said that the marine energy sector can meet the UK government's so-called 'triple test' for determining support for new technologies set out in the Clean Growth Strategy last October.
ORE Catapult research and innovation director Stephen Wyatt said the findings are “encouraging”. Talks with stakeholders will continue to “establish the best way forward for future support”, he added.
Industry players said the study, which will be presented to UK energy department BEIS, will give a significant boost to the marine sector’s efforts to secure targeted support.
Scotrenewables Tidal Power chief executive Andrew Scott said: “The ORE Catapult study presents a hugely compelling case to implement structured commercial markets for tidal energy that will enable the investment required to build the tidal energy industry in the UK.
“There is a massive opportunity to build the tidal sector in the UK and a global export industry, based around skills and technology.”
Crown Estate Scotland senior energy and infrastructure manager Sian Wilson said: “This new study shows that tidal now also has proven technology and can benefit consumers, communities and the climate, with real potential for new jobs and economic growth.”
Kepler Energy executive chairman Peter Dixon said: “The good news is that the ORE Catapult may substantially under-estimate the total potential of tidal energy in UK waters, since it appears not to include the lower velocity/shallower tidal waters where other tidal technologies, such as our tidal fence, can be deployed.”
Image: ORE Catapult