Annual Report 2017
Country Reports


Henry Jeffrey The University of Edinburgh

2017 has seen much development in the ocean energy sector in the United Kingdom (UK). Significant steps towards commercialisation have taken place with the completion of the first phase of two tidal stream arrays and a range of research, development and innovation projects in wave energy devices have been progressing throughout 2017. Whilst the UK has a large proportion of Europe’s ocean energy resource, further reduction of technology costs is required for wave and tidal energy to compete with alternative low carbon technologies and contribute significantly to the UK’s electricity supply in the run up to 2050.

In 2017 the UK’s wave energy sector has been continuing to engage in targeted research and development with the purpose of moving towards convergence of design and commercialisation. Wave Energy Scotland (WES), a Scottish Government funded technology development programme has so far awarded £24.4m to 61 technology development projects in the areas of power take-offs (PTOs), novel devices, structural materials and manufacturing processes and control systems.

Tidal Stream
The UK’s tidal stream sector made significant progress towards commercialisation in 2017, with a number of turbine deployments including two at array scale. The MeyGen project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth has completed construction of Phase 1A of the project, involving four turbines and a capacity of 6MW. In August 2017 700MWh of electricity was generated by the MeyGen array, a new monthly record for a tidal stream project. Long-term plans for MeyGen allow for up to 398 MW within the next decade. Nova Innovation successfully deployed the third turbine of the Shetland Tidal Array in early 2017. Nova is leading the Horizon 2020 flagship EnFAIT project, which will extend the Shetland Array from three to six turbines. 2017 also saw the successful testing of the commercial scale Scotrenewables SR1-2000 floating tidal turbine, generating over 1.3 GWh at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. Scotrenewables is leading the Horizon 2020 FloTEC project which is developing an advanced SR2-2000 turbine through a series of targeted innovations.

Tidal Range
In January 2017 a final report was published for the UK government-commissioned review of the strategic role of tidal lagoons in the UK, led by former energy minister Charles Hendry. This report supports the development of tidal lagoons, highlighting the benefits of a “pathfinder” project ahead of a wider programme. In coming to any decision on the Hendry Review, the UK Government will need to consider how this technology delivers against its priorities, as set out in its Clean Growth Strategy and Industrial Strategy. It will also need to take in account the best interests of the UK as a whole and that it represents value for money for the UK taxpayer and consumer.