Positive market signals from the UK government have ignited a partnership between two Scottish and English islands to get the infrastructure ready for commercial scale tidal energy roll out.

PTEC demonstration site, Isle of Wight

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Orkney, Scotland, has joined forces with Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC) to develop a large-scale tidal energy site off the Isle of Wight, England.

This site will be eligible to bid into future UK Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation rounds enabling tidal energy technologies developed in the UK to deliver predictable low carbon energy.

PTEC is a 30 MW tidal energy demonstration facility 2.5 km south of the Isle of Wight, with potential expansion capacity up to 300 MW. After signing off the agreements last week, EMEC is already working on site development and optimisation activities. This will build upon the early work done by the PTEC team to get the site consented in 2016.

PTEC has re-established its operational status to move to the next stage of development and pulled in EMEC expertise to get the site ready for commercial scale tidal energy technologies now coming to market. Within this PTEC is also exploring opportunities for offshore green hydrogen generation.

The partnership builds on work taking place in the £41 million Interreg Channel funded TIGER project, which will ready five sites in France and the UK for tidal energy developments. The project is led by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult) with EMEC as a key site development partner.

Making the PTEC site deployment-ready will be a significant boost to the UK tidal energy sector. The UK government recently launched a Call for Evidence for Marine Energy, linked to a restructuring of future CfD allocation rounds. This provoked a collective response from the marine energy industry which clearly addressed the industrial and cost reduction benefits of a ring-fenced revenue support mechanism. This would drive significant investment into tidal energy, drive down costs and secure the UK’s global lead.

The tidal energy industry could generate a net cumulative benefit to the UK by 2030 of £1.4 bn, including the creation of 4,000 high quality jobs (ORE Catapult Report, 2018) in maritime and peripheral regions, whilst assisting in green recovery and UK ambitions to reach net zero by 2050.

The UK is the clear global leader in marine energy and, with the right support, will lead a global export market estimated to be worth £76 bn by 2050.

Matthew Finn, commercial director, EMEC said:

The EMEC-PTEC partnership shows the enthusiasm from across the UK to roll out the deployment of leading tidal stream technologies. Working alongside the Marine Energy Council, EMEC and PTEC submitted evidence into the marine energy consultation and have now come together to get the PTEC site ready and accommodate commercial tidal energy array deployments.

This is a great opportunity for EMEC to share the consenting and site development knowledge developed in Orkney, while supporting development of tidal energy and local job creation in the Isle of Wight and Solent.

Rob Stevens, PTEC Chair said:

The PTEC partnership with global leaders EMEC is a huge opportunity to realise our vision of establishing a clean and inexhaustible tidal energy industry in the Isle of Wight and Solent.

We have tidal energy developers knocking on the door, eager to deploy their technologies, and with EMEC on board we believe we’ve got the best team in the game to get the site CfD-ready. I’m confident that this, and the other projects in Wales and Scotland, will be the catalyst to stimulate private investment and the full commercialisation of tidal stream energy in the UK.