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Unlocking Europe’s tidal potential

Photo by Mourad Saadi on Unsplash

With tides more predictable than solar and wind energy the oceans offer huge potential as a source of renewable power. For decades innovators have been developing technology to harness them, utilising knowhow gained in the oil and gas, as well as green energy industries. Testing the devices is an expensive business though, and it is not cheap to secure suitable sites to discover if the tech will work at scale.

One initiative in Europe making it easier for developers to conduct tests and progress more quickly to market is MaRINET2, the Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network, which is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. It provides developers with the chance to properly test products without investing large sums of capital.

The European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland (EMEC) is part of MaRINET2, and one of the continent’s premier testing facilities for these technologies. Last year it signed a deal with Enel Green Power SpA (EGP) targeting an acceleration in knowledge sharing and ‘collaborations in marine energy demonstration projects’. Its latest success story is with tidal company, Magallanes Renovables. Testing at EMEC of its second generation, 2MW tidal platform ATIR resulted in electricity being generated for the UK national grid. Magallanes Renovables has now secured backing from the MaRINET2 programme to support its journey towards commercialisation.

Tidal energy provides a clean, renewable, predictable energy source which has enormous potential

“We are delighted with the progress that Magallanes are making and we look forward to ongoing collaboration to develop and demonstrate their pioneering tidal technology here at EMEC, thanks to the continued EU funding support that they have received,” said Neil Kermode, EMEC managing director. “Tidal energy provides a clean, renewable, predictable energy source which has enormous potential. Magallanes are playing a key role in the tidal sector and their achievements and impact to the economy in both Scotland and Spain should be commended.”

The global potential of this power source is massive. By the middle of the century, according to some estimates, tidal could provide up to one fifth of all electricity needs.

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