May 16, 2022

The Isles of Scilly lie in waters off the coast of south-west England.

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A year-long research project examining the potential of tidal, wave and swim wind technology in waters off the coast of England has received support from Marine-i, a program that focuses on innovation in areas such as ocean energy.

The project is based on the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the south west coast of England led by Isles of Scilly Community Venture, Planet A Energy and Waves4Power.

In a statement earlier this week, Marine-i – co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund – said the overall goal of the Isles of Scilly initiative was to “build a new database of wave and tidal resource data”.

This data contains information about a variety of metrics, including wave height, wind speed, and tidal current speed. Marine-i’s support will be to give the consortium access to experts from its partners: the University of Exeter, the University of Plymouth and the Renewable Energy Offshore Catapult.

“With we’re nearly 30 miles off the south-west coast of England, maritime power is a natural choice for us and could make Scilly energy self-sufficient,” said Jim Wrigley of Isles of Scilly Community Venture on Tuesday.

“One obstacle to this, however, is that the key data developers need to assess their profitability is not currently in the required level of detail,” he added.

Wrigley said the new database “could be the key to unlocking some really exciting green energy solutions for Scilly.”

Ocean energy

Given the miles of coastline, it may come as no surprise that a number of projects and initiatives related to ocean energy are underway in the UK.

Last month it was announced that £ 7.5 million (US $ 10.3 million) of public funding would be used to support the development of eight wave energy projects led by UK universities.

In March, the Port of London Authority launched trials of tidal energy technology on a stretch of the Thames, a move that could ultimately help decarbonise operations related to the river.

Research and development focused on this type of technology is not limited to the UK. Ocean energy company Minesto, which is developing a tidal energy project in the Faroe Islands, said its DG100 power plant “delivered record-compliant electricity” “during recent production runs.

And back in February it was announced that a tidal turbine built and tested in Scotland had been installed in waters off a Japanese chain of islands. In a statement at the time, the London-listed company Simec Atlantis Energy said its pilot turbine had generated 10 megawatt hours in the first 10 days of operation.

Interest in marine energy systems is growing, but it should be noted that the current footprint of these technologies remains small.

Recent figures from Ocean Energy Europe show that only 260 kilowatts (kW) of tidal power capacity was added in Europe last year, while only 200 kW of wave power was installed.

According to the WindEurope industry association, 14.7 gigawatts of wind energy capacity were installed in Europe in 2020.