£18m million in funding is available to provide capital support for projects that will accelerate the deployment of commercial-scale wave and tidal stream energy arrays in Scottish waters. The MRCF funding will be distributed before the end of the comprehensive spending review period in March 2015.
Update as of September 2013
An application round was undertaken in 2012 to provide array commercialisation support for devices that have already been demonstrated at full-scale prototype stage. At the same time, similar UK and European funding schemes have made awards to three tidal array projects in Scotland. Whilst these tidal array projects are moving into first array commercialisation, it has become clear that wave array projects are not likely to be delivered within the MRCF time and spending constraints.
A targeted programme of Government support is needed for wave technologies to allow them to get to a position to successfully deploy first arrays. This can be best achieved by further technology proving and demonstrating cost reduction potential, all of which would be enhanced with support from industrial partners and OEMs who bring a depth and breadth of skills to bear as well as the financial strength needed by customers. With this in mind the Carbon Trust has allocated some MRCF funds towards a Wave First Array Support Programme.
Wave First Array Support Programme
The primary intention of the Wave First Array Support programme is to support projects that will significantly progress wave energy technology towards commercial readiness so that first wave demonstration arrays can be delivered in the 2016 to 2018 time period.
In order to address the specific challenges for wave technologies, and make the sector more attractive for industrial partners and utility customers, MRCF funds are being allocated towards a Wave First Array Support programme. As part of this, targeted programmes of Device Development and Proving and Site Development Fast Track have been devised with four key objectives:
- Improving device designs, manufacturing and deployment processes and proving the reliability and performance of devices by achieving more operating experience and continuous generation through a full range of sea states.
- Demonstrating cost reduction potential.
- Drawing industrial partners closer to the SME technology developers.
- Support project development to ensure that suitable first array sites are available when required.
The MRCF Wave First Array Support programme will be providing a bespoke package of up to £13 million of support for Device Development and Proving and Site Development Fast Track to:
This support will accelerate the development and proving of the core device technology alongside the site development work necessary to progress towards first wave demonstration arrays in Scottish waters.
The MRCF scheme is governed by State Aid regulations as described in the attached State Aid Notice (PDF).
Array Technology Innovation Programme
There are a number of critical array supporting technologies and other innovations which are required to enable first and early arrays and/or significantly reduce the risk or cost compared with existing solutions. The Array Technology Innovation Programme is seeking projects to support which will deliver new and better solutions to enable arrays and reduce the costs and risks.
Scope of projects that may be supported
The programme will support enabling technology innovations targeted at early arrays and which are also expected to be applicable in the longer term to commercial arrays:
There are a number of areas of enabling technology innovation in which applications are strongly encouraged. These are outlined in the attached guidance. Solutions should be widely applicable across a broad range of sites and technology types (wave and/or tidal). It is expected that most applications to this programme will be for R&D type activity. This programme is to be closely aligned with the Marine Farm Accelerator, an initiative led by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and the Carbon Trust.
The application period for this support scheme closed on 30th September 2013 and is now closed to new applications.
Other Carbon Trust marine energy work
The Carbon Trust has been working in marine energy technology innovation since 2003. Most recently we have supported full scale device prototypes installed in UK waters through the Marine Renewables Proving Fund. Our report Accelerating Marine Energy, published in July 2011, includes analysis of the UK wave and tidal stream resource, and identifies pathways towards continued cost reduction in the industry.
Read more on our latest reports on marine energy.