Green energy: UK government to invest £20 million a year in British tidal power

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The government has announced it is to invest £20 million each year in tidal stream electricity. The pledge forms part of its renewable energy auction scheme and is also included in the fourth round of the Contracts for Different (CfD) scheme – the government’s main mechanism for supporting low-carbon electricity generation.

 The government believes this move will kickstart a ‘brand new chapter for the tidal industry’, leading to new jobs, a ‘diverse’ and plentiful supply of ‘homegrown’ renewable energy, and in the long run cheaper, more affordable energy for consumers.

Several projects are currently in development for this in North-West Scotland, North Wales and the Southern coast of England. It’s also believed the clean and green marine technologies behind these could be instrumental in the UK reaching its net zero decarbonisation targets.

A ‘major step forward’ for the UK tidal energy

The additional £20m will take the total funding for the CfD scheme to around £285m a year. Thanks to our knowledge and understanding of the tides around our shores, the government claims the amount of energy we harness from tidal will be both easy to predict and useful for managing the nation’s energy supply and demand more effectively.

A number of energy experts and government officials have praised this latest initiative and championed how it could reduce our need for fossil fuels and potentially help us avoid the issues like those we’re currently facing in the continuing energy crisis.

Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, commented:

"As an island nation we are perfectly placed to capitalise on clean marine energy, building on our booming offshore wind sector which is now a British industrial success story.

"We hope to see marine energy follow in the successful footprints of other renewable technologies, where we’ve seen costs fall dramatically in recent years thanks to UK government support.

"The investment today provides a major push for tidal power to become a key part of the next generation of renewable electricity projects needed to strengthen energy security as we work to reduce our dependency on volatile fossil fuels."

CEO of RenewableUK, Dan McGrail offered his thoughts on the use of tidal, claiming:

"This is a major step forward for the UK’s world-leading tidal energy industry, allowing us to ramp up the roll-out of our cutting-edge marine technologies and increase the pace of innovation in the sector to become more cost competitive.

"Ring-fenced funding for tidal stream doesn’t just unlock private investment and secure green jobs today - it also puts us in pole position to capitalise on exports to the global market in due course. That’s why we’ve been calling for this dedicated pot of funding for tidal power.

"We need a range of renewable technologies to get us to net zero as fast as possible. As an island nation with superb tidal energy resources to harness, it’s clear that tidal stream should have a key role to play in our shift to clean energy."

The potential benefits for consumers

While we continue to see rising bills, more suppliers going bust and the colder winter weather arriving for much of the country, developments like these do help paint a more positive future picture with our energy. 

What’s more, if the government’s continued investment in what it calls ‘homegrown’ renewable energy production – be it wind, hydrogen power, solar or tidal – goes as planned, one day we may be able to completely shift away from fossil fuels, with surplus energy left over to manage changes in demand.

Theoretically, this would mean an end to volatility in the energy markets, lower wholesale costs and subsequently cheaper energy bills for consumers. This will be particularly welcome news for UK households who currently aren’t being advised to use energy comparison sites to switch suppliers in search of a cheaper tariff. This being due to the fact that not even the best energy deals from the country’s best energy suppliers can better the current energy price cap.

If you are looking to try and reduce your energy bills before winter truly sets in, we have previously detailed a number of top tips you might wish to use. You can also try applying for the Warm Home Discount scheme, or the winter fuel payment or speaking to your supplier about a new payment plan.

Richard Hart

Rich is a freelance copywriter and content strategist with over 10 years' experience. His career has seen him work in-house and in various agencies, producing online and offline content marketing campaigns and copywriting for clients in the energy industry.