A total of seven tidal stream energy projects have secured funding in the UK’s contracts for difference auctions, equating to 53MW of new capacity at £198 per megawatt-hour ($247 per MWh).
The auction results, which were announced on 8 September, offer reduced costs and financial security for developers by guaranteeing that customers pay a fixed price for electricity.
Tidal stream energy uses floating or seabed-mounted turbines to generate electricity from tidal currents. The seven projects will be deployed across British waters by 2028.
The 53MW of capacity will build upon the 40MW secured in the previous contract for difference auction, which took place in July 2022.
Tidal stream energy is distinct from both tidal lagoons and barrages, which require the construction of complex infrastructure.
The UK’s Marine Energy Council (MEC) welcomed the announcement but called for a “ringfence” to ensure an allocation of funding for tidal stream. The body said that this would “provide the industry the certainty it needs to invest in UK supply chains”.
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“It is critical that the ringfence is maintained in future renewable auctions to realise the UK’s 11GW of tidal stream potential,” said MEC policy director Richard Arnold in a press release.
“Successive support in renewable auctions could see over 100MW deployed in the UK by 2028 and more tidal stream projects in UK waters than the rest of the world combined.”
The companies that secured contracts for projects include SAE Renewables, which secured 21.94MW of capacity for a project in Pentland Firth, MeyGen, Scotland. Hydrowing also secured 10MW in Ynni’r Lleaud in Wales while Orbital Marine Power secured 7.2MW in Orkney in Scotland.
While the stream tidal industry is celebrating the success of the auction, the UK Government has failed to secure any applications from the offshore wind industry amid rising development costs and inflation.
Renewables bosses have criticised the latest auction, stating that the government’s unwillingness to increase funding on offer in line with inflation will jeopardise its ability to meet its renewables targets.