The South West Regional Development Agency (South West RDA) has commissioned the Offshore Renewables Resource Assessment and Development (ORRAD) project to deliver a broad scale, strategic assessment of the South West of England’s potential to support the development of offshore renewable energy projects up to and beyond 2030 and to consider the economic benefits to the region which such projects could deliver. The project consists of two elements, a technical report presented here and an economic assessment reported separately.
The ORRAD study, which has been carried out by Project Management Support Services Ltd (PMSS), in consultation with industry stakeholders, concludes that the marine renewable resource suitable for commercial utilisation in the South-West is capable of delivering 7110 Mega Watts (MW) by 2030, with a further 2110 MW consented, delivering a total of 9.22 Giga Watts (GW) in the study period.
The main baseline development scenario applied in this assessment would deliver 1.2 GW of wave capacity, 4.4 GW of intermediate wind (much of this within the existing Round 3 zones), 2.5 GW of deep water (floating) wind capacity and 1.1 GW of tidal stream capacity within 50km of the coast. Alternative development scenarios under which additional capacity may be capable of development are discussed. In particular there is excellent resource at distances greater than 50km from the coast, providing a good opportunity for significantly increasing capacity while grid and operations and maintenance challenges are resolved. The role of local institutions such as PRIMaRE and regional initiatives, such as Wave Hub, in providing solutions to these challenges is central to increasing available capacity in the South West.
Substantial capacity in addition to the base case 9.22 GW level could also be provided by tidal range technologies within the South West RDA area subject to the findings of the separate Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study.
The development study makes recommendations for an initial timely licensing round in the South West to facilitate the delivery of wave and tidal generation capacity. It also recommends a strategic approach to the provision of onshore and offshore grid infrastructure in the South West and places emphasis on the need for greater efforts to resolve potential conflicts between shipping and marine renewable energy projects.
Acknowledgement: This article was identified by the Crown Estate Wave and Tidal Knowledge Network.