Scotland plans to boost support to wave, tidal energy

The government of Scotland announced it plans to significantly increase its financial support for wave and tidal energy by increasing the number of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) offered to marine energy projects.

The Scottish government published a consultation September 19 on changes to the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) that proposes new levels of finance for different types of renewables development in Scotland.

Renewables Obligation (Scotland) compels utilities to provide a portion of their electricity from eligible renewable energy plants. In return, generators receive an ROC, currently valued at 47 pounds (US$86) per MWh, for every megawatt of power produced.

The proposed changes include �banding� the Renewables Obligation program, grouping technologies in separate �bands� to receive differing amounts of support, based on their stages of technological development and associated costs. Such a program was proposed in a White Paper by the United Kingdom government in 2007. (HNN 5/25/07) Instead of all renewables technologies receiving one Renewables Obligation Credit per MWh, support levels would vary.

Scotland proposes that wave energy projects that have not received government funding would receive five ROCs for every megawatt produced, while tidal projects would receive three ROCs for each megawatt of power. Established renewables such as onshore wind and hydropower would continue to receive one ROC for each megawatt.

The Scottish government said the power to initiate the banded ROC program depends on changes being made to British law by a draft United Kingdom energy bill. Should the bill receive Royal Assent, then the power would be transferred to Scottish ministers using an order under the Scotland Act.

The banded ROCs would replace Scotland’s existing Marine Supply Obligation (MSO), meaning higher multiples would be available on the same basis as the MSO program. (HNN 8/8/08)

To be eligible for ROCs, marine generating stations must: comply with the definition of wave or tidal stream in the Renewables Obligation (Scotland); be situated up to 200 nautical miles off the Scottish coast; and be connected to a transmission or distribution network in Scotland.

In April, the government of Scotland announced it would offer the Saltire Prize, which it called the world’s largest single prize for innovation in marine renewable energy. The prize, named for Scotland’s national flag, is a 10 million pound (US$20 million) award to encourage world scientists to push the frontiers of innovation in clean, green energy. (HNN 4/17/08)

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