Wheelhouse puts stress on UK post-CfD2 asking fairer system

Scottish Renewables’ Marine Conference 2017 (Photo: Scottish Renewables)

In the aftermath of the CfD2 allocation round, Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said the pressure on the UK government to commit to a fairer system for emerging technologies will be continued.

Speaking during last week’s Scottish Renewables’ Marine Conference, which started on September 12, 2017 in Inverness, a day after the announcement of the winners who competed for UK government’s subsidy contracts for renewables, known as the CfD2, Wheelhouse reflected on the results that saw tidal energy projects lose out to those of more established offshore wind.

Wheelhouse said: “Innovative projects will always lose out in a UK government scheme designed to favor big players and more mature technologies which are further along the cost curve than tidal.

“I am confident, however, having met with many of you that tidal and indeed wave are making great progress in that cost curve. We need to get to the point that we have the commitment to the technology that we can generate economies of scale by producing more devices and bringing manufacturing costs down, and that has a huge part to play in making the industry competitive.

“We will continue to press the UK government to commit to a fairer system which offers early stage technologies the chance to replicate the cost reductions which we are seeing in offshore wind.”

Simon Cheeseman, Wave and Tidal Energy Specialist at the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult also highlighted the CfD round, saying that the CfD2 significantly increases the pressure on marine energy on cost, which unlike offshore wind, doesn’t have the luxury of going ever bigger, and that It needs to think more in terms of array development rather than ever-larger devices.

Cheeseman added: “Marine needs to identify technology which can be pulled in from other sectors like automotive and defense, where cost reduction has already taken place.

“Developers shouldn’t try and progress all the technology themselves. Just focus on what your USP is for the design then use our portal and tools to identify the support for your project.

“No one wants to buy a car that’s only been taken round the test track once. You need to put the hours in and organizations like the Catapult are there to help you as developers do that.”

Alongside the CfD2 results and the continuing challenges around funding, learning and collaboration were under the microscope at the Inverness conference, according to the organizer Scottish Renewables.

Among other developments in the marine energy sector, the conference highlighted a series of innovation achievements, including Scotrenewables’ continued development of the SR2000 device, Nova Innovation’s Bluemull Sound array, Atlantis Resources’ MeyGen project, and the record number of marine energy devices currently deployed at EMEC.

Scottish Renewables’ Marine Conference, Exhibition and Dinner was held in association with Wave Energy Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and was sponsored by OpenHydro, AREG and Crown Estate Scotland.

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