The potential for wave and tidal stream to make a material
contribution to the UK's energy mix is well recognised, and is
reflected in the level of UK activity. As the industry moves from
full-scale prototype stage to first arrays, the key challenge
facing the marine energy industry is lowering the cost of energy
Wave and tidal stream energy: the Marine Energy
The Marine Energy Accelerator, which ran from 2007 to 2010 was
designed and managed by Carbon Trust and funded by DECC. The
programme focussed on reducing the cost of energy from wave and
tidal stream technologies.
The final report Accelerating Marine
Energy (CTC797) was published in July 2011 and contains
case studies of various Marine Energy Accelerator projects. It also
includes analysis of the UK wave and tidal stream resource, and
identifies pathways towards continued cost reduction in the
industry, and towards full exploitation of the UK resource which
has the potential to generate about 15% - 20% of the UK's
What were the aims of the Marine Energy
The Marine Energy Accelerator was aimed at helping achieve
marine energy cost reduction through 3 distinct strands, as
- Next generation concepts: Developing new
device concepts that could significantly marine energy lower
- Device components: Research into lowering
costs of specific components in existing marine energy
- Installation, operation & maintenance:
Developing strategies on how to improve ways marine energy devices
can be installed, operated and maintained at a lower cost.
The Marine Energy Accelerator invested £3.5m and operated until
the end of 2010.
What types of organisations were involved?
During the accelerator, we worked with:
- Device developers
- Component technology manufacturers
- Engineering consultants/contractors
- Academic research groups
Resource and economics assessments
As supporting activity for the MEA the Carbon Trust has also
investigated the UK Resource for both tidal and wave energy. The
tidal energy report is an update to work previously published in
2005, while the wave energy resource assessment is new.
The UK Tidal
Current Resource and Economic Assessment (CTC 799)
provides estimates based on an updated hydrodynamic methodology
for: technical resource, practical resource, and cost of energy at
all UK sites with sufficient energy density and depth.
The tidal resource and costs assessment has been supported by
The Crown Estate, with supporting hydrodynamic theory work
(Appendix C) also supported by the Juice fund.
The report also investigates the variations in cost of
exploiting the resource across the sites. This leads to a
conclusion that tidal energy devices are needed that can cope with
difficult and deep waters such as those in the Pentland Firth where
much of the resource is located.
Appendix A - UK resource
Appendix B - Site charts
Appendix C -
Hydrodynamic methodology update (2MB)
See also 2009 report on Foundations
and moorings for tidal stream systems.
The UK Wave
energy resource report (CTC 816) investigates the 'total',
'technical' and 'practical' wave energy resource. This study
predicts where wave energy project developers will site their
arrays, showing that the most attractive sites for offshore devices
are tens of kilometres offshore. The impact of practical
constraints such as space for shipping lanes and the impact on
fishing are taken into consideration.
Marine sector background briefing
Download our background
briefing on the marine energy sector, July 2012 (PDF,
Read more about our current marine energy innovation