2023 a turning point for UK marine energy according to new report

A new report published today by the University of Edinburgh has found that 2023 could be a turning point for the UK in realising its tidal stream and wave energy potential.

Alongside a record number of tidal stream projects securing contracts in the UK’s renewable auctions, 2023 also saw two successful British Horizon Europe bids and the launch of the Renewables for Subsea Power project, attracting investment from TotalEnergies and Shell into wave energy.

The UK has over 30GW of untapped marine energy potential. The UK Government has taken an important step towards harnessing this resource in setting consecutive tidal stream ringfences putting the UK on course to have over 100MW of the technology deployed in its waters by 2028. The successful projects from last year include:

  • MeyGen was awarded 4 contracts totalling 22 MW to further develop Pentland Firth tidal array.

  • Orbital Marine Power was awarded a further 2 contracts totalling 7.2 MW in Orkney.

  • Magallanes Renovables was awarded a further 3 MW at Morlais in Wales, and 1.5 MW in Orkney.

  • Hydrowing was awarded a contract for 10 MW at Morlais, Wales.

  • Verdant Isles was awarded a contract for 4.9 MW at Morlais, Wales.

  • Môr Energy was awarded a contract for 4.5 MW at Morlais, Wales.

In addition, 2023 also saw a tranche of important studies:

  • The University of Edinburgh, found deployment of just 6GW of tidal stream and wave each, will lead to a reduction in energy system cost of over £1bn per annum;

  • Offshore Wind Consultants found co-locating wave and wind will lead to a 12% cost reduction for both technologies; and

  • London School of Economics’ research revealed the UK is comparatively better placed to lead the world in tidal stream than other clean technologies.

Andrew Bowie MP, Minister for Nuclear and Renewables, in the foreword to the report wrote:

“The UK is a global leader in climate change, and we must continue to find and develop more ways to use naturally occurring renewable energy.

"We have some of the most promising renewable technologies available today on our doorstep, thanks to tidal's predictable generation and wave energy's significant potential.

"I would like to thank everyone involved for the achievements in this field this year and I am hopeful that in 2024 we will continue to see milestones being achieved in the development of these exciting, emerging technologies.”

Professor Henry Jeffrey, Head of the Policy and Innovation Group at the University of Edinburgh and one of the authors of the report, said:

“As this report showcases, there has been very significant progress made by the UK sector over the last 12 months. It is great to see the continuing impact made by the CfD scheme and the pipeline of projects it has created across the whole country. Of course, this market support will require continuity to achieve its full impact and it is critical that we partner it with targeted innovation support for the sector, to ensure that commercial deployment is achieved in a cost-effective manner”

This 2023 annual review provides a concise summary of the UK’s evolving national strategy, the policy support programmes available, and the progress made by individual developers and research and innovation projects, across the marine energy sector.

This report is an expansion of the UK chapter originally featured in the International Energy Agency Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES) Annual Report, written by the Policy and Innovation Group in collaboration with the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero. 

To download the full report please click here.

© UK Marine Energy Council (UKMEC)

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