Which marine projects are they?
10 August 2020
In FES 2020 the role of marine technologies for electricity generation has greatly increased compared to FES 2019 levels. But what and where are these marine facilities going to be?
In FES 2019 the National Grid referred to marine generation (including technologies such as wave and tidal) reaching around 4GW by 2050 in the Two Degrees scenario. The National Grid stated that the majority of this capacity would be provided by large tidal lagoon projects, but that there is also potential for smaller tidal stream projects across GB.
In FES 2020 that capacity has increased to a maximum of around 10 GW, with annual generation up to about 30 TWh. So, which projects may produce this enormous thousand-fold increase in capacity from the current 9MW to over 10GW?
You can see charts showing the FES 2020 projections for marine power on our Marine page.
Various major projects have been discussed, and in some cases those discussions have been ongoing for some time, but at present none have approval. Some of the more significant ones are:
- Severn Barrage. 8.6GW. First suggested in the 19th century, but last declined in 2013, partly on economic grounds and partly for environmental reasons.
- Mersey Barrage. 700MW. A previous plan was abandoned in 2011, but the latest one received funding in early 2020. This will be used to progress planning.
- Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. 90MW. This project had a DCO (Development Consent Order) but is currently not going ahead, with the UK Government citing "value for money" reasons.
- Wyre Tidal Barrage. 160MW. Funding being sought to progress planning.
Are there enough significant proposals and projects under consideration at present? What is the basis for the National Grid's dramatic increase in marine generation in 3 of its 4 scenarios in FES 2020? How do we get from 9MW to 10GW?
Details of the existing operational facilities (currently producing around 9MW, made up approximately 6MW using tidal energy and 3MW using wave energy) and the various prototype and demonstration projects are maintained and published by RenewableUK.
You can find the National Grid plan and Future Energy Scenarios (FES) here.