Annual Report 2018
Country Reports


Henry Jeffrey The University of Edinburgh


2018 saw extensive operating hours and generation from several bottom-fixed and floating tidal devices with multi-GWhs of generation being clocked up.  Wave energy technology has progressed with a number of large-scale laboratory and offshore tests having been undertaken to validate innovative concepts.  This activity has been supported by a set of positive Research and Development (R&D) and industrial policies, however a dedicated revenue support for ocean energy is required to establish a route to market.  This issue is being investigated by the new Marine Energy Council, formed in 2018, intended to be the unified voice of the sector to engage with Government and other stakeholders to secure support. This is being supported by the ORE Catapult’s ‘Tidal stream and wave energy cost reduction and industrial benefit’ 2018 report, which highlights the significant potential economic and employment benefits from ocean energy to the UK.

Wave Energy Scotland (WES) continues to be the focus for wave energy R&D activity in the UK in terms of funding provision for wave energy innovation and demonstration.  The technology sub-system R&D streams are now maturing with the best of these to be integrated and tested at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) with two part-scale wave energy devices planned for 2020 deployment. Marine Power Systems, CorPower and Wello Oy successfully deployed and tested their devices in UK waters during 2018. 

Tidal Stream
Tidal stream projects made significant strides in demonstrating performance and reliability. SIMEC Atlantis’ (formerly Atlantis) four-turbine 6 MW MeyGen project has now clocked up over 10 GWh of generation with maintainability also demonstrated through recovery and reinstallation operations. The Nova Innovation three-turbine 0.3 MW array has continued to operate and with the integration of a Tesla battery system, it is now able to provide continuous power to the local grid. Orbital Marine Power (formerly Scotrenewables) enjoyed a long production run of the floating SR2000 2 MW device, achieving 3 GWh of generation. All have continued working on technology improvements and planning project expansions.

Tidal Range
The 2017 UK Government strategic review of tidal lagoons established that the 320 MW Swansea Bay tidal lagoon would serve as a “pathfinder” project for the sector subject to value for money for the UK taxpayer. The project was seeking a 35-year power price contract plus significant investment by the Welsh Government. In 2018, the UK Government concluded that this represented poor value for money, the costs believed to be much higher than alternative sources of low carbon power, so would not agree these terms.  The project developer is seeking alternative funding models that can address this.