A flagship EU tidal energy project launched 18 months ago has already reduced the cost of tidal energy by 15%.
The €20 million (£17 million) Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal (EnFAIT) scheme is a collaboration between academic and industry partners, with nine European partners focused on demonstrating the economic viability of marine power.
Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation, which leads the consortium, claims its Shetland tidal array has already reduced operational costs by 15% and expects this figure to surpass 40% by 2022.
It predicts if this is achieved, it will result in an ‘explosion of interest’ from energy investors around the world.
The firm expects continued cost reductions will be driven by tidal turbine improvements, optimisation in terms of how structures are placed and arranged and the improved measurement and forecasting of tidal flows.
The cost reductions so far are largely a result of better forecasting.
The array itself is now supplied with 100% EU-manufactured content from 14 different nations and is already being used to power homes and businesses across Shetland.
Simon Forrest, Chief Executive Officer at Nova Innovation, said: “Even at this early stage of the project, we have achieved significant cost reduction successes and EnFAIT is already helping to map out the world’s most extensive tidal power supply chain across Europe.
“The UK has been a pioneer in developing this new industry: we remain the global leader in the development of tidal technologies, and the burgeoning supply chain in Scotland and across Europe demonstrates the economic benefits this sector can bring.”