In 2023, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult conducted a survey for Crown Estate Scotland to gather insights from wave and tidal energy developers.

The survey was issued to 29 organisations of which 26 replied, 10 wave and 16 tidal of which 3 were project developers. It asked recipients to declare their existing deployed capacity, their intentions to deploy in Scotland out to 2035, identify anticipated markets, describe projected minimum and maximum build out rate and timescale for projects, identify risks and limiting factors, describe ambitions for projects beyond 2035, identify supply chain challenges, innovation gaps and describe issues with the existing lease application process and how those would impact deployment plans. One-to-one interviews were conducted with a total of 21 respondents, 7 wave and 11 tidal and 3 project developers over a two-week period of 4 to 15 September 2023.



Survey findings

The survey has revealed a strong interest in both tidal and wave energy projects in Scotland, with each sector focusing on different market positions. Tidal energy emphasises utility-scale and community-scale developments, while the wave sector looks towards offshore applications like decarbonising oil and gas. Challenges for both sectors include consenting timelines, grid connections, and financing.  In addition, there were mixed feelings about supply chain readiness. Generally, developers with more established designs and systems in the water were more confident that the supply chain could transition to volume manufacture.

Crown Estate Scotland’s leasing approach, awarding leases for up to 30MW projects based on individual merit, was considered appropriate but might need adjustments for tidal projects in the future. Short-term improvements to the leasing mechanism were identified, with longer-term initiatives requiring policy support.

Caitlin Byers, Development Manager for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “This feedback from those working on the frontline of the wave energy and tidal stream sectors is invaluable in providing us with the evidence we need to improve processes and support these vital industries to play their part in helping reach net-zero targets. 

“It is clear that the two technologies – wave and tidal – share common challenges in addition to specific barriers; we at Crown Estate Scotland are determined to play our part in addressing those obstacles and to support the tidal and wave energy industries to help Scotland benefit from some of the best tidal and wave energy resources in Europe.”

Simon Cheeseman, Sector Lead for Wave & Tidal Energy at ORE Catapult, expressed satisfaction with the survey’s findings, noting the keen interest from developers to deploy in Scotland. He stressed the importance of Crown Estate Scotland’s review to accelerate commercialization for the marine energy sector, which is gearing up for large-scale deployment.

You can read the full report here.

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