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UK ringfences GBP20 million/yr in clean energy auction for tidal stream projects

Highlights

Seed money for struggling technology

Next CFD auction to open Dec. 13

Offshore wind allocated bulk of funds

The UK is to invest GBP20 million/year in tidal stream technology via the government's next renewable auction in December, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy said Nov. 24.

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UK tidal power has struggled to grow in the face of a booming offshore wind sector. It is currently restricted to a few small demonstration projects, the largest being Simec Atlantis' 6-MW MeyGen array off the north coast of Scotland.

"As part of the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference Scheme due to open next month, the UK Government will ensure that GBP20 million per year will be ringfenced for Tidal Stream projects, giving the marine energy sector a chance to develop their technology and lower their costs in a similar way to the UK's world-leading offshore wind industry," BEIS said.

The round is to open on Dec. 13. Full details of the auction are to be released on Nov. 25.

The new funding brings total support under the fourth CFD allocation round to GBP285 million/year. The bulk of this has been earmarked for offshore wind.

In September the government allocated GBP10 million/year to Pot One technologies in the auction -- onshore wind, solar and hydropower.

It budgeted GBP55 million/year to Pot Two (floating wind, tidal stream, geothermal and wave), and GBP200 million/year to Pot Three (offshore wind).

The government said it aimed to award contracts for 12 GW of low-carbon generation in the round, more than the last three rounds combined, largely because of a 65% fall in offshore wind costs since 2015.

"We hope to see marine energy follow in the successful footprints of other renewable technologies, where we've seen costs fall dramatically in recent years thanks to UK government support," said Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.