1.5MW AR1500 tidal turbine during deployment at MeyGen, 2017 Credit: SAE Renewables

Crown Estate Scotland survey finds significant appetite to accelerate deployment of tidal and wave energy

09 May 2024

An in-depth survey was carried out by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult on behalf of Crown Estate Scotland in 2023, with views and ideas sought from those working to develop and bring to market the next generation of wave and tidal technologies and projects.

The survey found that there was a significant appetite for development of both tidal energy and wave energy in Scotland but with each sector increasingly focused on differentiating their market positions there is a need to reflect their differing priorities and challenges.

The report highlights that tidal energy is focused on utility scale (large-scale supply to grid) and community scale (local supply for local demand) developments, whilst the wave sector views its future development in more offshore applications, including decarbonisation of oil and gas and colocation opportunities.

The survey confirmed there were also several common areas of challenge for projects in the development stages. These are primarily around consenting timelines, grid connections, and financing.

The feedback confirmed that Crown Estate Scotland’s current approach to leasing – where leases for projects of up to 30MW are awarded on an ad-hoc basis, with each considered on individual merit against the evaluation criteria – was appropriate. However further consideration of the 30MW capacity limit might be appropriate to reflect credible aspirations for tidal projects in the future.

A number of improvements to the current leasing mechanism were identified, with some achievable in the short term and others requiring longer-term initiatives and policy support.

Caitlin Byers, Development Manager for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “This feedback from those working on the frontline of the wave energy and tidal stream sectors is invaluable in providing us with the evidence we need to improve processes and support these vital industries to play their part in helping reach net-zero targets.

“It is clear that the two technologies – wave and tidal – share common challenges in addition to specific barriers; we at Crown Estate Scotland are determined to play our part in addressing those obstacles and to support the tidal and wave energy industries to help Scotland benefit from some of the best tidal and wave energy resources in Europe.”

Simon Cheeseman, Sector Lead for Wave & Tidal Energy at ORE Catapult, said: “We’re delighted to deliver this important survey. There is clear appetite from wave and tidal developers to deploy in Scotland, and Crown Estate Scotland’s review to look at ways to accelerate commercialisation is perfect timing for the marine energy sector that is gearing up to deploy at scale.”

The executive summary of the ORE Catapult report can be found here.

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