How the tide has turned

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Findings by Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the UK’s marine energy innovation and research centre, suggest that tidal and wave power could create over 20,000 British jobs, generate over £5bn for the UK economy and reduce carbon emissions by around 4MtCO2 per year, post 2040.

Wave of jobs

The group’s report predicted that the tidal stream industry could support 14,500 jobs, while wave energy could contribute 8,100 jobs – a total of 22,600 jobs which could be supported by the sector by 2040.

The report recognises that wave power development is around a decade behind that of tidal stream, which has a number of demonstrator projects being developed around the UK and the world. It also claims, however, that the cost of electricity produced by the various technologies, known as the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE), should fall as the sector develops from pre-commercial projects to fully commercial installations.

Passing the government’s ‘Triple Test’

The LCOE figures suggested are £150 per MWh with 100MW installed, reducing to £90 per MWh with 1GW and £80 per MWh with 2GW capacity. ORE Catapult’s report goes on to say wave and tidal stream energy technology can pass the government’s ‘Triple Test’ for support for emerging technologies; achieving maximum carbon reduction, showing a clear cost reduction pathway, and demonstrating that the UK can be a world-leader in a global market.

Dr. Stephen Wyatt, ORE Catapult’s research and innovation director, said: “The findings of our research are encouraging, with the potential for significant economic benefits to be realised from the UK marine energy resources.”

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