New figures from a Scottish Renewables report show that the Scottish wave and tidal energy sector has invested more than £217 million so far, with £31.8 million spent over the past 12 months alone. And though the sector is young, compared to its older siblings wind and solar, the industry is expected to reach £50 billion by 2050.
For Scotland, widely recognized as the world leader thanks in no small part to their favorable environmental conditions, these figures are doubly good news, as almost two-thirds (62%) of the current supply chain is Scottish.
“Wave and tidal energy is still very much the renewables new kid on the block, but the opportunities it presents are enormous, particularly for Scotland,” said Lindsay Leask, Senior Policy Manager for offshore renewables at Scottish Renewables. “These investment figures, revealed for the first time by our Marine Milestones report, show the significant economic benefits this young sector is bringing. Crucially, those benefits are staying local, benefiting communities and families who are looking to renewables for a sustainable future, both economically and environmentally.”
Trade body Scottish Renewables released its new report, Marine Milestones, Tuesday at the organization’s Marine Conference in Inverness. The report surveyed 17 organizations working in the marine energy industry, which provided several key updates:
- Aquamarine Power’s Oyster 800 device has now clocked up three full winters at sea, braving waves of more than 60ft: a world first.
- Pelamis’ two P2 machines have cumulatively delivered wave power to the grid for 10,000 hours – that’s 416 days, or 59 full weeks.
- The MeyGen project – the world’s first commercial scale tidal array – became the first large-scale tidal project of its type in the world to successfully reach a funding agreement, and achieved onshore and offshore planning consent in 2014.
However, despite Scotland’s leadership in the wave and tidal energy sector, the industry is taking longer than hoped to develop. A new Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast from August revised expectations down to 148 MW for tidal stream and 21 MW for wave power installations by the end of this decade.
According to Bloomberg:
The emergence of marine renewable energy technologies is taking longer than hoped, due to project setbacks, fatigue among venture capital investors, and the sheer difficulty of deploying devices in the harsh marine environment.
So while Scotland can look forward with high hopes to their own wave and tidal energy future, the numbers are still relatively low, and are definitely not representative globally.
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