An embryonic industry trying to harness the UK’s waves to generate clean electricity has been dealt a significant blow by a warning that the technology is too costly. Wave power devices being tested in Cornwall and at Orkney are 10 times more expensive than other sources of low carbon power and need a radical rethink, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) said. The energy research body added that even if costs were cut aggressively, wave power would be unlikely to make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy demands in coming decades. The institute, which has a mission to accelerate low carbon technologies, said the UK’s marine energy strategy should instead prioritise support for tidal stream power, such as a project being tested in the Pentland Firth, which resembles underwater wind turbines. The ETI urged the government to agree a subsidy deal for Atlantis Resource’s MeyGen scheme, which is the world’s first large-scale tidal power project. Atlantis Resources hopes to ultimately expand the tidal array’s first four turbines to 269, which would generate even more power than the Swansea bay tidal lagoon backed by an independent review last week. Such lagoon projects are further advanced than wave energy projects but some way behind tidal stream power development, and require large levels of investment, the ETI said. Experts have previously described the UK’s wave power potential as huge and said it could generate a tenth of electricity needs. But despite being heralded six years ago by Scotland’s then first minister Alex Salmond as on the verge of commercial deployment, the fledgling sector has been dogg ed by delays and bankruptcies, such as the collapse of Scotland’s Pelamis Wave Power in 2014 and Aquamarine Power in 2015. RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive, Maf Smith, said: “The UK is right at the forefront of a global race to develop wave power on a commercial scale. It’s vital that we don’t lose our lead to other countries, who stand to benefit from the years of investment and progress we’ve made. The more we deploy, the cheaper the technology will become.”
Guardian 16th Jan 2017 read more »
The UK-government-backed Energy Technologies Institute has today published a new policy setting out its priorities for marine energy to compete with other low-carbon energy sources. And – in contrast to its Scottish quango-counterpart Wave Energy Scotland, the ETI is calling for subsea-based tidal energy to take priority over surface-based wave-energy. In effect, the ETI says Wave Energy Scotland is backing the wrong horse, and that, instead, the Atlantis Resources’ 398-MW subsea power station off Caithness is the way the industry should be going.
Scottish Energy News 17th Jan 2017 read more »