New Ocean Energy Toolkit for Policymakers Launched

The Supergen ORE Hub and the Policy and Innovation Group at the University of Edinburgh, have today formally launched the Ocean Energy Policymakers Toolkit, outlining the benefits and actions required to realise the UK’s marine energy potential.

Forming a clear, consistent and coordinated policy framework is a vital step in helping to accelerate the commercialisation and long-term viability of the UK ocean energy sector. For policymakers, attempting to do so can raise many questions:

  • What represents a realistic deployment target?

  • What are the potential socio-economic benefits?

  • How can ocean energy benefit the national energy system?

  • How should future challenge areas be identified, targeted and budgeted for?

  • Most importantly of all, what will be the associated costs and how will they be responsibly funded?

This Ocean Energy Policymakers Toolkit, a series of five reports  produced as a result of long-term collaboration between the Supergen ORE Hub and the Policy and Innovation Group at the University of Edinburgh, aims to provide the answers to these questions. Through a combination of future evidence-based scenarios, quantitative analysis of existing data, collaboration with industry and government policymakers and future scenario analysis, this report series will outline how ocean energy, specifically the wave and tidal stream sector, can grow to become an indispensable feature of our future UK energy mix.

The toolkit is comprised of 5 reports:

Delivering Net Zero: Forecasting Wave and Tidal Stream Deployment in UK Waters by 2050

  • The first report in this series forecasts the contribution that wave and tidal stream energy devices can make to a future UK national energy system. This report predicts that achieving realistic cost reduction targets of €150/MWh for wave energy and €100/MWh for tidal stream by 2030 will result in the significant successful commercial deployment of wave and tidal stream devices by the mid-2030s.

  • Provided that these cost reductions are supported by long-term financial support and sustained innovation programmes, our energy mix is predicted to have deployed at least 6GW of wave energy and at least 6GW of tidal stream energy by 2050, contributing over 12GW of ocean energy towards the Net Zero transition.

What is the value of innovative offshore renewable energy deployment to the UK economy?

  • The second report in this series focuses on the Gross Value Added, a widely accepted economic performance metric employed by governments and policymakers, that could potentially be generated through the deployment of wave and tidal stream energy devices.

  • The report forecasts, that dependant on domestic supply chain strength, the deployment of 6GW of wave and 6GW of tidal stream devices in UK waters could generate between £4.9bn–£8.9bn in GVA, with UK exports supporting international deployments generating an additional £6.4bn–£32.1bn, by 2050. This report has also quantified the economic implications of increased and targeted innovation across the supply chain.

What are the UK power system benefits from deployments of wave and tidal stream generation?

  • The third report in this series has outlined and quantified the potential power system benefits that the UK stands to gain through the deployment of wave and tidal stream energy technologies in domestic waters. By focussing on the forecasted 2050 net-zero compliant national energy system outlined in previous reports, the energy system benefits associated with the deployment of 6GW of wave and 6GW of tidal stream can be quantified over a range of metrics: an increased renewable dispatch; decreased peaking generation and fossil fuel dispatch; and decreased storage requirements.

  • Most importantly, the inclusion of ocean energy devices in the national energy mix could produce in excess of £1bn worth of reductions in the total cost of energy dispatch per annum by 2050.

Ocean Energy and Net Zero: Policy Support for the Cost Effective Delivery of 12GW of Wave and Tidal Stream by 2050

  • The fourth report in this series focuses on the policy support mechanisms, and the associated costs, that would be required to accelerate the commercialisation of the wave and tidal stream energy sectors and ensure that they reach a stage of commercial viability both in terms of parity with wholesale market prices and technology readiness levels (TRLs).

  • Establishing the optimal combination of policy support mechanisms to bring a technology to this stage of TRL is a delicate balancing act between technology push policies – designed to support innovation and accelerate cost reduction of technology development – and market pull policies – designed to accelerate the commercialisation and the deployment of technologies by providing long-term revenue support.

  • An increase in the technology learning rate from 10% to 15% has the potential to reduce the total investment required for tidal stream from £18.6bn to £3.3bn and reduce the total investment required for wave from £20.5bn to £3.0bn when delivering 6GW of each technology by 2050.

Research and Innovation for Wave and Tidal Stream in the UK and EU: A 2023 Summary

  • The final report in this series outlines an up-to-date and detailed analysis of the research and innovation landscape for projects and funding relating to the UK wave and tidal stream sector.

  • This report provides an unparalleled gap analysis of the prioritised sector challenges compared with the current funded innovation topics, and is essential reading for both policy makers designing innovation programmes and technology developers structuring their own innovation strategies.

All five reports can be found here.

© UK Marine Energy Council (UKMEC)

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