UK wave and tidal: two companies share £20mn funding pot to take turbine technologies to next stage

Marine energy has huge potential as a clean green source of power and could provide up to 20% of current UK electricity demand by 2050, as well as help cut carbon emissions and support thousands of UK jobs, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said. "More investment is needed however to enable further testing of devices and drive the sector towards commercialisation, and that’s what the MEAD scheme is designed to do."

The news was announced at RenewableUK's Wave and Tidal 2013 conference -  and it coincides with the publication of a report by the association warning the Government must get the level of support under the Electricity Market Reform right for wave and tidal to ensure the industry grows. Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “This £20 million will give MeyGen and SeaGeneration Wales the boost they need to leap to the next level and test their innovative turbines in formations out at sea.

“These projects will provide valuable insight into how best to harness the power of the sea and take us one vital step closer to realising the full potential of marine in our future energy mix.

“The UK, with its amazing natural resource and outstanding technical know-how is already leading the way on marine power for the rest of the world to follow, and I want to ensure we stay top of this table.”

Specifically, the winning projects are:

The two projects were chosen after a UK wide open competition launched in April 2012. Bids were judged on a range of criteria including the ability to generate a minimum of 7GWh per year and the use of at least three generating devices, previously demonstrated at full scale in sea conditions. Projects will be up and running by the end of March 2016. 

CEO of MeyGen Ltd Dan Pearson said: “We are delighted, and we applaud DECC for its continued support of the Marine Energy sector. The grant will be used across all construction aspects of delivering the Demonstration Phase.”

Meantime, CEO of Siemens Energy Hydro & Ocean Unit Achim Wörner said: “We are very pleased that the Skerries project being developed by Sea Generation Wales Ltd has been selected for the £10 million Marine Energy Array Demonstration award.

The Skerries project, located in Anglesey, Wales, will be one of the first arrays deployed using the Siemens owned Marine Current Turbines SeaGen S tidal turbines. "The marine consent for the project was recently awarded, the first tidal array to be consented in Wales. The 10MW array will be fully operational in 2015,” Wörner said.