EMEC and PTEC partner to grow UK tidal energy market

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, announced it has joined forces with the 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, according to a press release.

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 the agreements last week, EMEC is working on site development and optimization activities. The PTEC team worked to get the site consented in 2016.

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

“The EMEC — PTEC partnership shows the enthusiasm from across the UK to roll out the deployment of leading tidal stream technologies,” said Matthew Finn, commercial director at EMEC. “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.”

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 site development partner.

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

“The PTEC partnership with global leaders EMEC is a huge opportunity to realize our vision of establishing a clean and inexhaustible tidal energy industry in the Isle of Wight and Solent,” said Rob Stevens, PTEC chair. “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 commercialization of tidal stream energy in the UK.”

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

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