Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tidal power in UK renewable energy sector

Tidal power to provide most of the UK's renewable energy. United Kingdom is one of the countries that want to play important role in global clean energy race, and currently the renewable energy sector in which United Kingdom has the edge over all other countries is tidal power. The United Kingdom currently leads the way in the innovation and commercialization of tidal power, and this renewable energy source has potential to keep the UK economy competitive in years to come.

Currently, around one quarter of tidal and wave power projects are being developed in UK, and UK definitely doesn't want to lose its main role in tidal power industry. The main proof to that was more than $35 million of UK government funding to couple of highly promising wave and tidal power technologies.

One of the recently granted companies was well known Aquamarine Power Company that was awarded 5.1 million pounds to support the manufacture of its second generation wave energy device, the so called Oyster 2. Norwegian tidal power company Hammerfest Strom AS that develops one megawatt (MW) tidal power plant off the north-east coast of Scotland was also among awarded companies, receiving over 3 million pounds.

United Kingdom certainly has great potential in its wave and tidal power resources, and further harnessing of these resources would have double benefit as it would not only help UK to achieve its climate change targets but could also help boost economy in UK making it more competitive on global scale.

Britain's current goals include 15% of energy coming from renewables by 2020, and tidal power could play very important role in achieving this goal. More than 80 percent of total Britain's tidal power potential is located in Scottish waters.

UK has also recently announced the so called "Marine Energy Action Plan" under which UK should generate up to 2MW of renewable energy from wave and tidal power by 2020.

UK's leading marine energy experts believe that with the adequate financial support tidal and wave power could provide between 15 and 20 % of the UK's energy, reduce carbon emissions by 70 million tons by 2050, and create up to 16,000 new green jobs in United Kingdom.

If UK really wants to become one of the most important countries in clean energy race then tidal and wave power look to be one of the best options in doing so. It is quite clear that domestic marine energy sector needs government's financial support to become commercially viable option and attract investors. It will be very interesting to see whether UK's government understands this or not.

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