The UK should prioritise exploiting commercial tidal stream technology over more costly tidal lagoons, according to the state-backed Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).
The quango said tidal stream has the potential to compete with other low-carbon energy sources over the coming decades whereas tidal lagoons are at a less developed stage and therefore carry with them higher costs.
“Tidal lagoons for example currently lie in between the development stages of tidal stream and wave energy and require large levels of investment to demonstrate and then deploy at scale,” it said.
Reflecting on 10 years of work in marine energy, the ETI also argued that a Contract for Difference (CfD) for tidal energy is a crucial factor for its success.
ETI offshore renewables strategy manager Stuart Bradley also said a rethink is required on wave technology if it is to be an affordable source of renewables.
“Wave energy can work technically and has been proven through a small number of installations, but it is presently up to 10 times more expensive than other low carbon alternatives,” he added.
“A rethink is required in wave to bring costs down, but the early signs are that bodies such as Wave Energy Scotland are tackling this challenge so support should continue to be provided to such work.”
During 2017 the ETI will be releasing technical data and reports from projects delivered across its technology programmes over the last 10 years.
It has released to its website over 100 documents from its marine technology programme on the research it has undertaken to date.