The marine renewable energy (MRE) sector needs to target cutting costs in half by the end of the decade to make the leap to industrial-scale commercialisation, according to a new UK report.
The Marine Energy Technology Roadmap, produced by UK
Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI),
says the tidal and wave industries should be aiming at slashing levelised cost
of energy (CoE) from the current £0.20-0.50/kWh to £0.10-0.20/kWh by 2020 and £0.05-0.08/kWh
by 2050 to spur development of large array projects.
“The UK marine energy sector could be worth more than
£70bn ($117.7bn) and support 68,000 jobs in 2050,” states
University of Edinburgh UKERC researcher Henry Jeffrey, lead author of the
report. “Decisions made now will determine
whether marine energy will fulfill its potential as a significant source of
energy by 2050.”
“Over the next decade innovation needs to be
prioritised to support installation and recovery demonstration and potentially
small-scale array trials – by doing this we will
significantly reduce the cost of marine energy.”
ETI deputy director of engineering Richard Knight
adds: “The marine sector is an industry still in its relative
infancy. The industry needs to build viable business propositions through cost
reduction and reliability demonstration to help establish a viable UK market.”
The roadmap highlights 40 technology and deployment
issues being faced by the marine energy sector in the UK, and prioritises them “from the perspective of the industry”.
Among the report’s key recommended
targets are: technology validation through array-scale installations “in the next three to five years”, and hitting a CoE of
£0.08-0.10/kWh for array-scale MRE farms “by the mid-2020s”.
British industry body RenewableUK’s wave and tidal development manager Dee Nunn comments: “With large scale deployment of these technologies, economies of scale
will kick in which will enable the sector to achieve the cost reductions it is
committed to in the long term.”
“If we invest in arrays now, and make sure the financial and
political conditions are right for them, we’ll also be
able to build up the UK supply chain.”