‘Game-changing’ tidal energy project gets the green light

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tidal stream energy sector, Interreg project
© Jop Hermans

Interreg France (Channel) England Programme has approved the largest ever Interreg project that could be game-changing for the European tidal stream energy sector

The Tidal Stream Industry Energiser Project, known as TIGER, is an ambitious €46.8m (~£40.39m) project, of which €28m comes from the European Regional Development Fund, via the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme.

TIGER falls within the funding category for low carbon technologies. The managing authority is Norfolk County Council who co-fund collaborative projects between organisations in the south of the UK and north of France.

The project aims to drive the growth of the tidal stream energy sector by installing up to 8 MW of new tidal capacity, thus driving innovation and the development of new products and services.

The turbines submerged off the coast will harness the energy of tidal currents that will be converted into electricity.

TIGER will make a stronger, more cost-effective case for tidal stream to become part of the energy mix in the UK and France by harnessing economies of scale. Coastal communities used as ports of deployment will benefit from knock-on investment and job creation.

Potential benefits

The total theoretical tidal energy capacity in the channel region is nearly 4 GW, enough to power up to three million homes.

If the Interreg project proves tidal energy generation can be cost-effective on a large scale, it could open the door for the tidal stream energy sector to become the renewable energy of choice in coastal locations with strong tidal currents. This would encourage the growth of green energy generation and help to tackle the climate emergency.

Led by the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, TIGER comprises 19 partners from across the UK and France spanning turbine developers, ocean energy demonstration sites, research organisations, as well local and regional authorities.

Partners are met on 16 October to kick start the project.

Carolyn Reid, programme manager for Interreg France (Channel) England Programme, commented: “This is a hugely ambitious project that will demonstrate the benefits of harnessing tidal energy on a large scale.

“The long-term aim is to support the industry to reduce generating costs of tidal stream energy from the existing 300€ MW/h to 150€ MW/h by 2025 and increase uptake. There is an EU target to reach 100€/MWh by 2030.

“The project has a clear link to the programme objective to increase the development and uptake of existing or new low-carbon technologies in sectors that have the highest potential for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, research & innovation director for ORE Catapult, added: “We are delighted to be spearheading this game-changing tidal energy project. Developing successful UK and European collaborations is important for the UK tidal energy industry and will help accelerate the economic, environmental and societal benefits which can be derived from this emerging sector.

“This project brings together multiple organisations from across the UK and French supply chains to work towards validating the pathway to commercialisation, ensuring that sustainable, predictable and affordable tidal electricity plays a role our future energy mix as we tackle the global climate emergency.”

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