Projects, pipelines and power: around the world’s tidal projects
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Posted On: January 29, 2023

Projects, pipelines and power: around the world’s tidal projects

Giles Crosse reviews the world’s tidal power projects, to ask what the future could hold for this as-yet-undeveloped energy source.

Tidal development in the UK: A new round of projects

ORE Catapult is a UK technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy. ORE says in 2020, the European industry hit a milestone of 60GWh of production.

Despite this, ORE calls political support for the sector inconsistent. This has slowed down investment and technology development, compared to alternatives like solar and offshore wind that have benefited from significant public development funding and energy generation subsidy.

Yet the industry has still shown significant cost reduction ability. In 2018, ORE Catapult estimated the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) at $359/MWh. In the UK in 2022, four projects, generating a total of 4.08MW,were awarded contracts for difference at $213/MWh, to start operation between 2025-27. This indicates an LCOE reduction exceeding 40% with little to no revenue support since 2016.

So, change is coming. A new UK project called Centre Port involves some $2.4bn for a tidal barrage in the Wash, a bay in East Anglia, UK. The promise is that turbines beneath the bay will harness enough energy to power 600,000 homes.

In Scotland, reports say QED Naval has netted more than $1.8m in new tidal funding, as it looks to develop its portfolio including a site off the west coast of Scotland. QED’s cash has come from over a thousand investors via crowdfunding platforms.

Tidal power in the EU: 17 projects in progress

Big news has come recently from the EU; in September Wedusea launched a four-year $20.3m project aiming to be the stepping stone towards large scale wave and tidal energy commercialisation.

It is a collaboration between 14 partners, spanning industry and academia from across the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Spain. It is co-ordinated by the Irish company OceanEnergy and co-funded by the EU Horizon Europe Programme and by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

OceanEnergy has developed the OE35, which is the world’s largest capacity floating oscillating water column wave energy device (WED). The floating WED incorporates a trapped air volume with the lower part open to the sea. Wave pressures at the submerged opening cause the water to oscillate and drive the trapped air through a turbine to generate electricity.

The WEDUSEA project’s first aim will demonstrate a grid connected 1MW OE35 floating WED at the European Marine Energy Centre Test Site in Orkney, Scotland.

Again, the battle between capacity, pace and cash seems key. Trade association Ocean Energy Europe says that there are more than enough ocean energy projects in the works to meet the European Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy’s target of 100MW by 2025.

At least 17 major projects are already in progress, representing over 160MW of clean energy and $1.2bn of investment. But the clock is ticking to get these projects over the finish line.

Read about Tidal Energy Projects in US and Asia by clicking below:

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