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MPs launch inquiry into tidal energy

A cross-party group of MPs has launched an inquiry, which will consider the role of tidal energy in the UK’s low-carbon energy mix.  

The inquiry is the latest phase of the technological innovations and climate change inquiry being run by the environmental audit committee (EAC).

As the country with the largest marine renewable resources in Europe, and the second highest tidal range in the world, there is significant potential for tidal power generation in the UK.

Tidal schemes could also offer a predictable and reliable energy source, providing benefits over other sources of renewable generation such as wind or solar.

However, the technology is at the early stages of development so has not been rolled out despite 80% of the UK public supporting tidal and wave deployment.

The government has undertaken numerous reviews into the potential for tidal range. When examining the possibility of a tidal lagoon fleet in 2017, the government stated the tidal capital cost per unit of annual power output is higher than other energy sources.

The committee will be examining these issues and more, considering whether tidal power could play a role in the UK’s commitment to be net-zero by 2050.

The committee is inviting written submissions on the following subjects:

  • What contribution can forms of tidal power play towards the UK’s energy mix?
  • Why, despite the considerable marine resources available, have relatively few developers established tidal projects?
  • Are there certain locations where one type of tidal technology is best suited?
  • How could financial support be structured to assist technological and project development in this area?
  • How might tidal schemes reduce costs to become commercially competitive with other low carbon or renewable options?
  • What are the environmental impacts of tidal schemes and how can these be minimised?
  • What are the wider economic benefits and what potential disadvantages could tidal schemes bring to regional areas?

Earlier this month, the committee also launched a survey for people who are seeking to access the government’s new Green Homes Grant scheme.

Photo Credit – EliasSch (Pixabay)

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Paul Hales
10 months ago

Until the UK government learn and understand the full range of tidal stream designs and principles that can work at the full range of tidal flows, both the fast flows found in certain locations and the low velocity flows which cover the vast majority of the UK territorial waters, we will always struggle to harvest this renewable energy source, that has the potential to supply ALL the UK’s energy needs many times over. maybe Also the combination of off-shore wind, wave devices and tidal stream generator in energy hubs, using redundate oil rigs can be set to produce Hydrogen from the sea water and provide a secure future of supply and ring fenced pay down the national debt.
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