With over 90 MW of potential tidal energy projects due for near-term completion in Scotland and Wales the U.K. is making progress toward its goal of 1 GW of installed capacity by 2035. A technology roadmap to support these efforts and reduce technology costs has been outlined by the U.K. Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

The 10 technology innovations highlighted could deliver an 80% cost reduction in tidal stream energy, making it lower than current nuclear energy prices. These innovations are projected to provide a reduction in tidal stream cost from the current £259/MWh ($331/MWh) to £50/MWh ($64/MWh) by 2035. The technology innovations identified by the report for future tidal energy success include subsea hubs, anchors for floating devices, controllers to optimize lifetime turbine performance, cable monitoring and tidal array optimization, and deployment of larger diameter rotors.

The need for appropriate policy support to drive tidal stream technology development and commercialization is also emphasized. The responsible government entities are advised to implement policies that recognize non-price benefits generated by such renewable energy projects, such as system integration and supply chain development, rather than focusing on lowest price bids.

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com