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Three days left to save the future of the UK tidal stream energy, consortium warns

Businesses call on the government to include ring-fenced support in the upcoming CfD scheme

A group of companies working in the marine energy sector has warned the government to support the tidal stream energy with ring-fenced cash through the Contracts for Difference scheme as the time is running out.

The consortium that includes the European Marine Energy Centre and the Scottish engineering company Orbital Marine Power said the latest round of the Government’s Contracts for Difference scheme, known as AR4, is due to open on 13th December and will be critical in supporting renewable energy projects.

However, the draft budget framework, which was published in September did not contain ring-fenced support for tidal stream energy, the businesses said.

The deadline for introducing a ring-fence within AR4 ends in three days, on 26th November.

A few months ago, Orbital Marine Power launched what is claimed to be the world’s most powerful tidal turbine.

Neil Kermode, Managing Director at the Orkney-based EMEC, commented: “The government has demonstrated its support for floating offshore wind by setting a 1 GW deployment target and providing ring-fenced support at £24 million.

“We are looking for the same support for tidal stream, a shared ambition and a dedicated pot of money to support this innovative technology. “This is not about asking for more money, but for ring-fenced support.”

Alistair Carmichael, Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland, said: “Waves of ministers and political leaders, including the Prime Minister himself, have come to the isles to see for themselves the strides made by EMEC and Orbital Marine Power in ramping up tidal stream technology.

“It is time that they matched the positive words with the necessary fiscal support.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the great potential of tidal power and have provided the marine energy sector with £175 million of innovation and Research & Development funding.

“We are global leaders in tidal power to the extent that almost 50% of the world’s installed tidal stream capacity is in the UK waters, including the world’s largest tidal stream generating station in Scotland.

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