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Wave and Tidal Energy
Wave and Tidal Energy

Wave and Tidal Energy

The UK is currently the undisputed global leader in marine energy

Wave & Tidal Energy

About Wave & Tidal Energy

Wave and tidal energy will help decarbonise our energy supply; increase energy security and reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels. The UK is currently the undisputed global leader in marine energy, with around 10MW of wave and tidal stream devices being tested in UK waters, more than the rest of the world combined. The state of the art test facilities at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney and Wavehub in Cornwall provide developers with access to real sea conditions with planning consents and grid connections already in place.

The ground-breaking Seagen tidal stream generator has been operating in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland since 2008 and had generated over 9GWh as of March 2014. The world’s first tidal stream farm (also known as an “array”) is currently under construction in the UK, Meygens Inner Sound project in the Pentland Firth, Scotland. There are several other wave and tidal stream array projects under development in the UK and the sector has ambitions of ten arrays reaching financial close by 2020 across Europe, with the UK well placed for the lion’s share of this to be built in its waters. Further information on some of the wave and tidal stream technologies being tested.

RenewableUK also represent tidal lagoons. A planning application for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon was approved by the Secretary of State on the 9 June 2015 and negotiations over financial support for the scheme through a “Contract for Difference” are ongoing. Support is being sought for the first 35 years of the project, less than a third of the its 120 year life and could enable a new UK tidal lagoon industry. This will be another landmark achievement for the UK as the world’s first tidal lagoon which could be in construction by mid 2016

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimates that wave and tidal stream energy combined has the potential to deliver around 20 per cent of the UK’s current electricity needs which equates to an installed capacity of around 30 – 50GW. In addition tidal lagoons could deliver up to 8 per cent of our energy needs according to a recent report by The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

By building on the UK’s established marine engineering heritage, marine energy could lead to significant economic growth for the UK. In their 2011 Marine Green Growth paper The Carbon Trust estimate that UK companies could capture around 22% of the global market for marine energy which could be worth around £76 billion between now and 2050. Our 2013 Working for a Greener Britain and Northern Ireland report estimates that in the next decade wave and tidal stream energy could provide jobs for more than 20,000 people, contributing towards continued economic prosperity as we export our skills, services and products.

Further Information

Wave and Tidal Energy Database

UK Marine Energy Database

Map and database of wave and tidal sites compiled by RenewableUK. The RenewableUK UK Marine Energy Database (UKMED) provides information about all current and pipeline wave and tidal projects we are aware of. Whilst we endeavour to keep the contents of this database as up to date and as accurate as possible, this is dependent in part on site developers and owners providing us with any changes. 

Please note the locations of sites are approximate. Devices marked “Operational*” are part of a test programme – for example at a test centre. Devices are not permanently deployed at test sites and therefore it should be noted that a Project Status of ‘Operational*’ doesn’t necessarily mean the devices are in the water permanently. Inputs last checked with developers: May 2015

Consenting Position Papers

It is essential that the wave and tidal energy industry understands its impacts on the marine environment and methods for minimising or mitigating them. RenewableUK has been working with Scottish Renewables and The Natural Environment Research council and Scottish Renewables to consolidate existing knowledge through the development of a series of position papers. Developed in collaboration with industrial stakeholders, key consenting bodies, NGOs and regulators, the series of position papers provide a summary of key research and evidence as well as making a series of recommendations that will help steer further work

Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

Set up by the UK Government the ORE Catapult has a mission to accelerate the development, testing, commercialisation and deployment of offshore renewable energy including offshore wind, wave and tidal energy.

Wave and Tidal Knowledge Network

The portal was developed by The Crown Estate in collaboration with industry and is now managed by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. The Knowledge Network facilitates the exchange of data in the emerging wave and tidal energy sectors and contains many resources on a range of relevant topics, including reports and datasets that can be downloaded for free.

The Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust has produced a number of useful papers on the wave and tidal energy industry including resource assessments and cost reduction methodologies.

The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate, the owner of the seabed around the UK with a stewardship role, continues to play an important part in the development of wave and tidal technologies.