Last week Shadow Energy Minister Alan Whitehead MP hosted a roundtable with the Marine Energy Council (MEC) to discuss tidal stream’s role in supporting the UK becoming a clean energy superpower.
Tidal stream is an entirely predictable renewable resource, which has already provided over 70GWh to the UK energy system (equivalent of the annual demand of 25,000 households). The Government's decision to set a tidal stream ringfence in successive renewable auction rounds means the UK is now on course to deploy over 100MW in its seas by 2028, five times more than global installations to date.
The Labour Party, if it forms the next government, has committed to investing in homegrown energy in Britain, including tidal power. Tidal stream projects are being deployed with upwards of 80% UK supply chain content, and the roundtable explored how this could be embedded in global deployment.
A recent London School of Economics report found that the UK is strongly positioned to lead the world in tidal stream technology. The report outlines the technology's multiple benefits in contributing to sustainable economic growth in the UK, enhancing net zero efforts, improving energy security, and generating jobs across the country. Attendees at the roundtable discussed how this aligned with the Labour Party’s 'securonomics' approach to the energy transition, onshoring supply chains for renewables, and supporting energy security.
Realising the UK’s potential requires consistency and clarity from the policy environment, and the MEC highlighted to Labour the positive impact that the Government’s successive support has had in improving the deployment pipeline for tidal stream, and the importance of industry working with government to realise the UK's potential.
During the roundtable the MEC and its members outlined the industry’s key asks:
Maintaining and setting the tidal stream ringfence at £30m for upcoming renewable auctions.
Setting a 1GW tidal stream target for 2035.
Committing to a clear and consistent route to market for tidal stream.
Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Energy Minister said:
“Labour will make the UK a clean energy superpower to cut bills, create good jobs, and deliver real energy security. GB Energy, our new publicly owned energy generation company, will lead the way by investing alongside the private sector in cutting-edge technologies like tidal stream. It was valuable to discuss with industry leaders how a future Labour government can make sure we harness the energy potential of our seas.”
Richard Arnold, Policy Director of the MEC, said:
“The UK’s geography provides a rich resource that can be harnessed by tidal stream technology. Its predictability will provide a critical service to the future energy system, helping to displace the role currently played by fossil fuels in the UK’s energy mix, and enable a secure transition to an energy system dominated by renewables.
“It was great to meet with the Labour Party to understand how tidal stream fits into its ambition to make the UK a clean energy superpower.”