Tidal energy has the capacity to contribute 11.5 GW to the UK energy system, equivalent to 11% of the country’s electricity demand.
In 2022, ORE Catapult spearheaded a study in collaboration with ICL to assess the energy system’s cost benefits of tidal stream energy (TSE). This initiative led to the publication of a whitepaper elucidating the study’s findings. Subsequently, in 2023, ICL researchers conducted a follow-up study. According to Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Imperial College London (ICL), tidal stream projects could potentially contribute up to £17 billion to the UK economy by 2050.
ICL’s system modeling revealed that the gross benefit of TSE amounts to approximately £2 billion annually. This translates to an average savings of £71 per year for each UK consumer. Nevertheless, the cost advantages of TSE for the energy system will hinge on various factors, including the deployed TSE capacity, the costs associated with other generation sources (wind, solar, gas, nuclear), and the expenses and rate of integration of electrolyzers and battery energy storage systems (BESS).
ICL conducted a sensitivity analysis to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of these factors. The diagram below illustrates the overall cost savings to the energy system associated with tidal deployment in each scenario, compared to the system without tidal.