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£20m a year Westminster backing for tidal power

tidal power turbine

Scotland is a pioneer in tidal technology

Tidal power technology is to receive £20 million a year from the UK government as part of its flagship renewable energy auction scheme.

Today’s announcement aims to unlock marine technologies which could benefit the whole of Scotland and the rest of the UK. 

It is the latest in a string of investments announced by the Conservative government which is keen to pursue its levelling up agenda and boost the benefits of the union.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Westminster had made a “partial Tory u-turn” and only after months of pressure from the SNP.

“As the Scottish industry has made clear it does not go anywhere near far enough to ensure tidal stream energy can reach its full potential,” he said.

Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland Alistair Carmichael described the government’s decision as a “genuine win” for the northern isles and for those companies that have called for government support to enable progress to be made in developing wave and tidal technology.

He said: “I have to pay tribute to Neil Kermode and the team at EMEC in Orkney and Andrew Scott and Orbital Marine in Shetland, amongst many others in the isles and beyond, like Sue Barr of the Marine Energy Council, who have worked in concert to make the case for tidal stream energy.”

Scotland has long been a pioneer for tidal technology, hosting the world’s largest tidal stream generating station which was built in 2018 following a £10m innovation grant from the UK Government and extensive support under the Renewables Obligation mechanism – the highest level of support awarded to any technology. 

Almost 50% of the world’s installed tidal stream capacity is in Scottish waters. Simec Atlantis Energy, a homegrown company, used its expertise to export and install a tidal turbine – designed and built in Scotland – for piloting in Japan.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We hope to see marine energy follow in the successful footprints of other renewable technologies, where we’ve seen costs fall dramatically in recent years thanks to UK government support.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack added: “This UK Government allocation of funding for the tidal industry in Scotland, and across the UK, is tremendous news.

“Harnessing the powers of our seas is a vital step in our transition to the use of greener, cleaner energy and underlines the UK Government’s commitment to create and protect highly-skilled jobs while on our journey to Net Zero by 2050.

“With strong wind and solar power industries in the UK it is the natural next step to explore our tidal energy capabilities.

“It’s an exciting development in support of our domestically-produced renewable energy sources.”  

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