Further wave and tidal leasing to accelerate technology development

The UK Crown Estate has announced plans to lease further wave and tidal sites in a bid to encourage and accelerate technology development.

In line with responses to its recent industry engagement exercise, the leasing will focus on test and demonstration projects to be installed in waters around the UK, it said.

The estate is also supporting industry growth by considering investing up to £20mn in the UK's first wave and tidal stream array projects and by introducing two new features:

Firstly, new test and demonstration zones will be created to help the industry focus on the best seabed locations, using knowledge of the UK seabed and working in partnership with statutory marine planning organisations. This is important for defining zones that offer appropriate wave and tidal energy resources and access to necessary infrastructure, including ports and the electricity grid, said the Crown Estate.

Secondly, once the zones are defined, The Crown Estate said it plans to invite third party organisations to manage them and sublet areas within the zones for test and demonstration activities.

The third party managers may be public or private sector organisations and, before subletting, may choose to undertake preparatory work, such as installing infrastructure to make the zones attractive for use.

To ensure the zones are managed sustainably, The Crown Estate said it plans to include a requirement in the selection criteria that interested parties demonstrate a strong understanding of local interests.

“The emerging wave and tidal industry has already taken great strides, but we want to encourage faster progress in technology development and rapid cost reduction,” said Huub den Rooijen, Head of Offshore Wind at The Crown Estate when anouncing the initiative in Aberdeen at the All Energy renewable energy event recently.

“By introducing managed demonstration zones we’re offering a key opportunity to other organisations to lend tangible support in their local areas,” he added.

In the UK 41 wave and tidal sites have already been leased with a total potential installed capacity of approximately 2GW, the Crown Estate's new leasing is planned to begin in September 2013.

Further reading

UK wave and tidal: two companies share £20mn funding pot to take turbine technologies to next stage

Wave and tidal energy: Government urged to act to secure UK's global lead

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