United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK offshore 'can compete with onshore on cost'

UK: The UK’s best marine energy sites could generate electricity from wave and tidal power at costs comparable to onshore wind, according to a new report from not-for-profit organisation the Carbon Trust.

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Through its three-year Marine Energy Accelerator programme, the Trust has established that the cost of wave and tidal stream electricity could be as low as 15p per kW/hour by 2025 - equivalent to today’s cost of offshore wind energy.

The analysis shows that wave energy could generate 50 TWh of electricity per year, equivalent to 13% of the UK’s power needs, and tidal stream 20.6 TWh, or 5% of UK power needs.

It suggests electricity from tidal stream energy generated in Scotland’s Pentland Firth and Orkney waters could be delivered at an equivalent cost to nuclear and onshore wind.

For marine energy to compete with wind, the Trust says the UK government needs to provide a stable revenue support framework and legislative backing through Strategic Environmental Assessments to streamline the planning process for wave and tidal energy farms.

The Carbon Trust also called for developers to engage in non-competitive R&D efforts in order to drive down costs associated with array development, foundations and electrical connections.

The Carbon Trust's findings are at odds with those expressed by UK government advisor Dieter Helm who, last month, questioned whether UK consumers will be able to foot the bill for offshore wind energy.


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