At its Wave and Tidal event in London on 4 March, RenewableUK called on the Government to invest a further £150-£200 million in wave and tidal technologies, to solidify the UK’s lead in the sector and creating “world class” wave and tidal industries.

Over the last decade the Government has invested around £60 million in wave and tidal research and development.

£4.2bn annual revenue potential

Peter Madigan, RenewableUK’s Head of Offshore Renewables says: “The SEA for offshore energy is a welcome initiative. However, there needs to be a greater awareness on the initial investment needs of this industry. The Danish government spent £1.3 billion to establish onshore wind, which currently brings £2.7bn per year in revenue. A properly capitalised wave and tidal sector could create 43,500 direct jobs and generate a potential £4.2bn per year in revenue for the UK economy.”

RenewableUK’s State of the Wave and Tidal Industry report, released at the conference, states that the UK is still leading the world with the largest installed wave and tidal generating base of 2.4 MW, a further 27 MW with planning consent, 77.5 MW of projects in planning, and 700 MW expected in the Pentland Firth area by 2020.

In total, RenewableUK forecasts 1-2 GW of wave and tidal energy installations in the UK by 2020.

Increased interest in wave and tidal

Maria McCaffery, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, says: “We have recently seen a number of energy industry giants such as Siemens and Vattenfall take a keen interest in wave and tidal energy, and strong sector interest in the Pentland Firth leasing round. The appetite for development is there.

“The Government now needs to pledge £150-£200 million over the next Parliament to get the first generation of arrays into the water. This relatively modest outlay will ensure that we have a world beating marine energy industry.”

Budget proposals

RenewableUK also released its set of proposals for the 2010 Budget, expected later in March. It includes:

  • A strong case for a new state-backed finance institution to ensure sufficient capital flows to the renewable energy sector;
  • Further funds to solve aviation objections to wind power developments; and
  • Action to drive investment in the offshore wind industry supply chain.