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The MEC responds to AR5

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Energy Global,

The Marine Energy Council (MEC) has welcomed the recent news that 11 tidal stream projects have secured contracts in the government’s latest renewable auction. Over 50 MW of tidal stream capacity has been contracted, building on the 40 MW secured in the previous round, made possible by the government’s international leadership in setting a ringfence.

Tidal stream harnesses the power of the gravitational pull of Moon and Sun via floating or seabed-mounted turbines. It is distinct from tidal lagoons or barrages which require large structures to be built.

Allocation Round 5 (AR5) support could see an additional 53 MW, at £198/MWh, of tidal stream capacity deployed in British waters by 2028 across seven projects in Scotland and Wales:


  • SAE Renewables, secured 21.94 MW of capacity (Pentland Firth, MeyGen).
  • Orbital Marine Power, secured 7.2 MW (Orkney, EMEC).
  • Magallanes secured 1.5 MW (Orkney, EMEC).


  • Hydrowing secured 10 MW (Ynni'r Lleaud).
  • Verdant secured 4.9 MW (Anglesey, Morlais).
  • MOR Energy secured 4.5 MW (Anglesey, Morlais).
  • Magallanes secured 3 MW (Anglesey, Morlais).

Tidal stream projects in the UK have provided enough electricity to power over 25 000 UK households for a year. This entirely predictable renewable energy resource is set to have an increasingly important role in the UK’s energy mix. Research has shown that deploying just 6GW of tidal stream projects will reduce energy system costs by over £1 billion/yr.

The MEC has welcomed the fantastic results and the industry's strong response to successive auction round support. Tidal stream projects are being delivered with over 80% UK supply chain content spend. The government can embed UK supply chain content in global deployment and export tidal stream technology around the world.

Tidal stream, via economies of scale, volume, accelerated learning, and reduction in the cost of deployment, is on a similar cost reduction path as wind and solar. The cost of deployment will fall as more capacity is deployed, and at 1 GW of deployment tidal stream will be cheaper than new nuclear.

A commitment to an ongoing ringfence for tidal stream will provide the industry with the certainty it needs to invest in UK supply chains. Increasing the ringfence will accelerate deployment and allow technology to become cheaper, as more is deployed.

Alistair Carmichael MP, Co-Chair of the Marine Energy All Party Parliamentary Group, said: “[The] announcement is positive news for the isles and for the UK as a whole. It is a further vote of confidence in the potential of tidal stream to transform how we manage energy in this country – and a massive vote of confidence that two projects in the isles have secured contracts.

“Tidal stream renewables have become a vital part of the contracts for difference framework. These industries of the future have the potential to play a central role in delivering a green energy network – and green jobs to boot. That is particularly true for communities like the Northern Isles where we have been leading the way.

“I am glad that the government has not let up on support for this sector. Other countries recognise the potential of tidal stream – this is our chance to establish real leadership for years to come. We need to continue that big picture mentality from ministers and ramp up development further.”

Richard Arnold, Policy Director of the MEC, added: “This is a fantastic day for the industry and proof that with the right support tidal stream energy can play a key role in the UK's future energy mix.”

“Successive support in renewable auctions could see over 100 MW deployed in the UK by 2028 and more tidal stream projects in UK waters than the rest of the world combined.

“It is critical that the ringfence is maintained in future renewable auctions to realise the UK’s 11 GW of tidal stream potential. By maintaining the ringfence the government can harness an entirely predictable renewable resource, level up with green jobs in coastal communities, maintain its international leadership and export technology and expertise around the world.”



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