In 2011 it became clear that the wave and tidal energy industry in the UK had reached a tipping point. As it decisively moved towards commercial viability the industry offered vast improvements in its value proposition, driven by a surge in deployment and a demonstrable track record. As a result we now have proposals for the first wave and tidal arrays and the front running developers are looking to develop multi-megawatt projects.
Increased visibility of project pipelines and improved levels of knowledge within the sector have derisked projects, indicating a pathway to profitability. The flow of manufacturing capability into the industry through the involvement of major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) has vastly improved the credibility of the industry and we now have several industrial partnerships developing the foremost projects. The involvement of major energy utilities is further evidence of progress as we now have end customers intimately involved in the development process.
The increased attractiveness of the industry to investors is largely due to government support and several high profile demonstrations of commitment. With the provision of increased revenue support, as heralded in the 2011 consultation on Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) rebanding, and upfront capital support offered, DECC is working hard to unlock private sector investment. The Scottish Government has been equally engaged and has provided the Scottish Renewable Obligation regime to compliment the upfront capital support of its own. The harmonisation of the revenue support regimes for marine energy is very welcome but it is vital that the government continues to discuss ways of ensuring that the various funding streams are both coordinated and complementary.