UK government set to invest in tidal-energy demonstration

The UK government is to invest more than £10m in research and development to help demonstrate that wave and tidal energy can be generated at scale and with lower energy-production costs.

According to a statement, ’Marine Energy — Supporting Array Technologies’ is a competition for collaborative R&D funding that will support the applied research, experimental development and demonstration of technologies that solve common issues faced by those developing and deploying the first marine-energy arrays.

The funding — from the Technology Strategy Board, Scottish Enterprise and the Natural Environment Research Council — will support the successful deployment and operation of the first series of wave and tidal arrays while complementing other public-funding initiatives such as the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC’s) Marine Energy Array Deployment capital grant scheme, the Energy Technologies Institute’s (ETI’s) wave and tidal-energy system demonstrator programmes and the Scottish government’s Saltire Prize.

The competition will seek proposals for research-and-development projects that address areas including tidal-array cabling; subsea electrical hubs; installation and maintenance vessels for tidal arrays; navigation and collision avoidance, and anti-fouling and corrosion.

The results of this competition are expected to help UK businesses to build sustainable economic growth by exploiting innovative technologies in a growing market and by removing barriers to successful array deployment.

The Technology Strategy Board will invest up to £6.5m in the research-and-development projects, while Scottish Enterprise will invest up to £3m and NERC up to £1m. The competition opens on 5 March 2012 and a briefing event to provide more information to prospective applicants will be held in London on 14 March 2012. The deadline for registration is 10 April 2012 and expressions of interest must be submitted by 17 April 2012.