Call for evidence launched on tidal power in the UK

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The Environmental Audit Committee is inviting evidence on tidal power as part of its Technological Innovations and Climate Change inquiry.

This session of the inquiry will consider if various sources of tidal power, including tidal stream and tidal lagoons, could play a cost-effective role as part of the UK’s energy mix.

As the country with the largest marine renewable resources in Europe and the second highest tidal range in the world, there is potential for a significant quantity of tidal power generation in the UK.

Based on tidal movement and strength, tidal schemes have the potential to offer a predictable and reliable energy supply, which provides a benefit over other fluctuating sources of renewable generation such as wind or solar.

However, the greatest output is delivered shortly after high and low tide and so the generation of electricity on demand (dispatchability) is low.

A recent survey suggested that 80% of the public support tidal (and wave) deployment.

Tidal schemes, however, remain at the early stage of development, having not yet been deployed at scale or proven commercially.

The Committee is inviting written submissions to inform its forthcoming session. These should focus on, but not be limited to:

  • What contribution can forms of tidal power play towards the UK’s energy mix?
  • Why, despite the considerable marine resources available, have relatively few developers established tidal projects?
  • Are there certain locations where one type of tidal technology is best suited?
  • How could financial support be structured to assist technological and project development in this area?
  • How might tidal schemes reduce costs to become commercially competitive with other low carbon or renewable options?
  • What are the environmental impacts of tidal schemes and how can these be minimised?
  • What are the wider economic benefits and what potential disadvantages could tidal schemes bring to regional areas?

Evidence can be submitted until 18 December on the Committee website.