A recent report from Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult suggests that tidal stream energy (TSE) could plummet from its current price of £260/MWh to just £78/MWh by 2035.
Achieving this cost reduction would require scaling up the size and power of tidal devices, and developing larger TSE farms. Savings could also be delivered by moving to piled foundations and anchors for fixed bottom and floating devices.
The ORE report predicts that 877MW of tidal stream energy could be deployed in the UK by 2035, dramatically improving domestic energy security by providing reliable, predictable energy - although the UK could also capture a massive 25% of the international TSE market through export. Additionally, TSE could create up to 45 jobs per MW deployed, and contribute up to £17 billion to the UK economy by 2050.
"The sector has never been stronger and the roll out of tidal stream energy is a huge opportunity we must capitalise on", said sector lead for wave and tidal energy at ORE Catapult, Simon Cheeseman.
To realise this opportunity, policymakers will need to commit to industry deployment targets, ring-fence funding, and streamline the consenting process. Caroline Lourie, Technical Manager at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) said:
"The UK remains the most attractive global market for tidal stream energy, with over 10 GW potential. In 2021, £20 million a year was ring-fenced for the sector through the UK Government's Contracts for Difference scheme; an important endorsement of the industry. However, to drive down costs so that tidal energy is competitive with other renewables, a huge ramp up of installed capacity will be needed over the next decade. For this to happen, we need long-term policy support and continued ring-fenced funding."
Download the full report, entitled "Cost reduction pathway of tidal stream energy in the UK and France" here.
The report also highlights that TSE could dramatically improve domestic energy security and reduce costs in the future energy system due to its predictable nature. An increasing emphasis on domestic energy security presents an opportunity for TSE to build capacity as a reliable and forecastable complementary renewable energy source.
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