Country Reports

2017 has seen much development in the ocean energy sector in the United Kingdom (UK). Significant steps towards commercialisation have taken place with the completion of the first phase of two tidal stream arrays and a range of research, development and innovation projects in wave energy devices have been progressing throughout 2017. Whilst the UK has a large proportion of Europe’s ocean energy resource, further reduction of technology costs is required for wave and tidal energy to compete with alternative low carbon technologies and contribute significantly to the UK’s electricity supply in the run up to 2050.

In 2017 the UK’s wave energy sector has been continuing to engage in targeted research and development with the purpose of moving towards convergence of design and commercialisation. Wave Energy Scotland (WES), a Scottish Government funded technology development programme has so far awarded £24.4m to 61 technology development projects in the areas of power take-offs (PTOs), novel devices, structural materials and manufacturing processes and control systems.

Tidal Stream
The UK’s tidal stream sector made significant progress towards commercialisation in 2017, with a number of turbine deployments including two at array scale. The MeyGen project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth has completed construction of Phase 1A of the project, involving four turbines and a capacity of 6MW. In August 2017 700MWh of electricity was generated by the MeyGen array, a new monthly record for a tidal stream project. Long-term plans for MeyGen allow for up to 398 MW within the next decade. Nova Innovation successfully deployed the third turbine of the Shetland Tidal Array in early 2017. Nova is leading the Horizon 2020 flagship EnFAIT project, which will extend the Shetland Array from three to six turbines. 2017 also saw the successful testing of the commercial scale Scotrenewables SR1-2000 floating tidal turbine, generating over 1.3 GWh at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. Scotrenewables is leading the Horizon 2020 FloTEC project which is developing an advanced SR2-2000 turbine through a series of targeted innovations.

Tidal Range
In January 2017 a final report was published for the UK government-commissioned review of the strategic role of tidal lagoons in the UK, led by former energy minister Charles Hendry. This report supports the development of tidal lagoons, highlighting the benefits of a “pathfinder” project ahead of a wider programme. In coming to any decision on the Hendry Review, the UK Government will need to consider how this technology delivers against its priorities, as set out in its Clean Growth Strategy and Industrial Strategy. It will also need to take in account the best interests of the UK as a whole and that it represents value for money for the UK taxpayer and consumer.




The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) retains overall responsibility for energy policy in the UK although powers related to planning have been devolved to the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The 2017 UK Government Clean Growth Strategy states that ocean energy technologies “could also have a role in the long term decarbonisation of the UK, but they will need to demonstrate how they can compete with other forms of generation.”
The UK government continues to offer revenue support to a variety of renewable energy technologies through the Contract for Difference (CfD) programme. Based on top-up payments to a strike price, CfDs offer long-term price stabilisation and are awarded via competitive auctions. The second round of auctions, worth £290m per annum, opened in April 2017 with results published on 11 September 2017. Strike prices of £310/MWh for wave and £300/MWh for tidal stream were quoted for projects due to deploy in 2021/22 in the BEIS 2017 Draft Allocation Framework. Bids for wave and tidal stream CfD allocations are made in competition with other “less established technologies” in a pot that includes offshore wind and biomass. The auction results were considerably lower than the draft administrative strike prices, with offshore wind projects gaining CfDs with strike prices of £74.75 for 2021/2022 and £57.50 for 2022/23. As yet, no wave or tidal projects have been awarded a contract for difference. The Clean Growth Strategy and Budget confirmed that the £557m remaining in the former Levy Control Framework would be allocated to further CfD auctions to 2020, with the next auction anticipated for early 2019. This announcement does not mean the UK Government is ruling out support for any particular technology, including tidal, now or in the future.
UK Contracts for Difference for less established technologies: Draft strike prices and Auction results (£/MWh):

Scotland has substantial ocean energy potential, with a third of the UK’s tidal stream resources and two thirds of the UK’s wave resources. It houses the flagship European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) on Orkney and is home to Wave Energy Scotland (WES), the largest wave energy technology programme of its kind in the world.
The Scottish Government remains strongly committed to the development of a successful ocean power industry in Scotland and to maintaining its current strong lead by supporting research, development, innovation and demonstration projects. This was reiterated in the Scottish Energy Strategy, published by the Scottish Government in December 2017. The Scottish Energy Strategy also discussed the new short life industry working group, chaired by the Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy. The purpose of this working group is to agree five priorities to secure the future growth of the sector in light of changes in UK Government energy policies and EU exit.
The Scottish Government fund the Wave Energy Scotland (WES) technology programme with the purpose of supporting wave energy technology development. WES funds are committed through a series of strategically targeted innovation projects and research activities, securing intellectual property for the benefit of the industry and driving novel technology development. WES has developed a structured stage gate process for competitive development of wave technologies that provides developers with up to 100% funding through a procurement model. The programme operates a framework for assessing the performance of technology against set standards and metrics to provide transparency and risk reduction. WES is collaborating internationally to create an agreed set of these metrics and has also embarked on a project to introduce structure to the innovative process. WES has now committed £25.4m to 61 separate research projects and is working with 171 separate organisations over 11 countries. The organisation has recently awarded funding for landscaping projects in electrical connections and moorings and foundations, which will inform any future calls. These will be followed by investigations into the benefits of very large scale wave energy converters and alternative techniques for harvesting of wave energy.

In 2017, the Welsh government announced that they had set a target for Wales to generate 70% of its electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2030. In doing so, the Welsh government aims for Wales to become a clean energy centre and actively funds marine and renewables projects. In addition to the positive message given by the Hendry review on tidal lagoons, 2017 has seen the continued development of two test sites and a number of proposals for tidal stream and tidal range projects in Wales.  Marine Energy Wales is a Welsh government supported initiative aiming to establish collaboration between developers, academia, the supply chain and the public sector. This is done through regular working groups, including sub-groups dealing with key consenting and research issues. The two ocean energy demonstration zones currently in development in Wales are supported by Marine Energy Wales. In 2017, the West Anglesey Tidal Demonstration Zone received £4.5m in EU and Welsh government funding to support the project consenting. development of a Welsh marine energy centre of excellence is also proposed, known as the Pembroke Dock Marine Project. Its aims are to convert an area of Pembroke Dock to a marine energy test area, wave energy demonstration zone and an engineering centre. The Marine Energy Test Area has received £1.9m in EU and Welsh government funding.
In 2017 Nova Innovation signed a lease for a 2 MW project at Bardsey Sound in North Wales. The Enlli Tidal Project has been awarded funding by the Coastal Communities Fund, and is currently going through the consenting process.

Northern Ireland (NI)
The NI Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is working to develop a Marine Plan for NI, with the aim of guiding the regulation, management use and protection of maritime regions. The report will consist of two separate sections for both the inshore and offshore regions and also include a Sustainability Appraisal. The NI Department for the Economy’s 2017 Industrial Strategy also includes plans to develop a new Energy Strategy.
In 2017 DP Energy’s Fairhead Tidal project submitted planning applications, with the first stage of the 100 MW tidal stream project aiming to begin construction in 2018. Regional development agency InvestNI continues to engage with the ocean energy sector with a particular focus on finding matches between the sector and the Northern Irish supply chain.

The responsibilities previously held by DECC transferred to BEIS during 2016 while further work to devolve powers to the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland went ahead. In April 2017, the Crown Estate’s management duties in Scotland were transferred to the Scottish Government, as recommended by the Smith Commission and reflected in the Scotland Act 2016. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) was formed on 1st April 2017. Crown Estate Scotland manages a diverse portfolio of property rights and interests including four rural estates in Scotland, around half the foreshore and the seabed out to 12 nautical miles(nm) (and renewable energy interests out to 200nm).

Management of seabed rights out to 200nm around Scotland is also vitally important to being able to sustain the competitiveness of Scottish marine industries and to continue to derive wealth from the marine environment.

The Knowledge Transfer Network, operated by Innovate UK, maintains a wide-ranging and up-to-date listing of funding opportunities available in the UK. By far the majority of research and development funding for energy technologies can be found in this database, available at
UK organisations which offer funding to ocean energy projects include:
Research Councils UK
The Research Councils UK Energy Programme provides funding for a wide range of technology areas, including marine, covering research and training. It brings together investments from across the UK research councils.
Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the UKs innovation agency and is an executive non-departmental body sponsored by BEIS. Innovate UK works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.
Wave Energy Scotland
WES – fully funded by the Scottish Government – is taking an innovative and unique approach to the development of wave technology in a new research programme. WES brings together the best engineering and academic minds to collaborate on innovative projects that will accelerate the development of wave technologies and encourage the return of private investment.




The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult)
The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is one of seven Catapult centres set up to bridge the gap between research and commercialisation in the UK. It was established by Innovate UK to accelerate the development of innovative technology that will lead to cost reductions in the offshore wind, wave and tidal sectors. Following the merger with the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), the ORE Catapult now offers an integrated engineering, research and testing capability for the offshore renewable energy sector.

ORE Catapult has collaborated with over 500 industrial and academic partners in its latest financial year, including support to 134 small and medium-sized companies and participation in 35 international projects. Also in 2017, ORE Catapult launched the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub to coordinate innovation across industry, government and academia.

The Supergen programme was set up in 2001 to deliver sustained and coordinated research on Sustainable PowER GENeration and supply. Supported by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through calls and Centres for Doctoral Training, the programme has resulted in greater collaboration between academia, government and industry, the creation of new strategies and innovation programmes and provided an opportunity for international collaboration.

Supergen UKCMER
The Supergen UK Centre for Marine Energy Research (UKCMER) seeks to engage developers, industry, academia and other stakeholders to conduct fundamental and applied research that accelerates deployment of marine renewable energy. Activity across the consortium has resulted in various achievements, including:

  • The population and validation of a GIS database of Scottish wave, tidal, offshore- and onshore wind resources as three year projected time series at 3 km resolution;
  • The development of a wave-to-wire model of an array of wave energy converters to explore the benefits of on-board energy storage for power and speed regulation; and
  • The inclusion of component reliability, operation and maintenance strategies, and predictions of device performance in the development of lifetime cost models of classes of wave energy converters Supergen ORE hub

In 2017, the decision was made to amalgamate the Wind Power and Marine Energy Supergen hubs into a new Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) hub, as the two sectors were identified as having sufficient common or aligned research challenges as well as synergies in technologies to merit clustering. Consultations with the research community over the creation of the ORE hub are underway to identify a coordinated programme of multidisciplinary research ahead of Supergen Phase 4 funding in 2018.


The Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal (EnFAIT) project is a €20.2m Horizon 2020 project. The project is a partnership of nine European companies and academic partners, led by Scottish tidal energy developer Nova Innovation. EnFAIT builds on Nova’s existing operational tidal power station in Bluemull Sound, off the Shetland Islands in Scotland, which was the world’s first grid connected offshore array of tidal energy turbines.

The project, which began in July 2017 and will run until June 2022, was successful in winning a competitive funding award from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to develop marine energy sources and demonstrate technologies in European waters. The project is a flagship initiative for the EU and marine energy, and aims to increase the commercial viability of tidal power.

It will extend the Bluemull Sound array from three to six turbines and demonstrate that high array reliability and availability can be achieved using best practice maintenance regimes. The layout of the turbines will be adjusted to enable array interactions and optimisation to be studied for the very first time at an operational tidal energy site.

The North Sea Solutions for Innovation in Corrosion for Energy (NeSSIE) project is an EU funded research project primarily focused on the research and translation of cross-industry anti-corrosion technologies in the North Sea basin (NSB) to the offshore renewable energy sectors. Led by Scottish Enterprise, NeSSIE is composed of eight partners over five countries. NeSSIE commenced in 2017 and will run for two years.

The Tidal Turbine Power Take-Off Accelerator (TIPA) project focuses on the testing of an innovative Direct Drive Power Take-off (PTO) solution for tidal turbines, with the aim of reducing the lifetime cost of tidal power by 20%. Running until late 2019, TIPA is led by Nova Innovation and funded by EU Horizon 2020. The project includes accelerated onshore and in-sea testing of a prototype PTO with third party validation and a commercialisation strategy for selling and licensing the product to tidal energy technology developers. Project partners are SKF, Siemens, The University of Edinburgh, Delft Technical University, Wood Group and the Centre for Wind Power Drives RWTH Aachen University.

EERA Ocean Energy Joint Programme
The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) Ocean Energy Joint Programme is coordinated by Henry Jeffrey at the University of Edinburgh. In a Joint Programme (JP) a research organisation joins institutions in other European countries to work on shared priority setting and research projects. The research themes of the EERA Ocean Energy JP are Resource, Technology, Deployment and Operations, Economics and Costs, Environmental and Socio-economic impacts, and Education and Training. An example of the work done by the EERA Ocean Energy JP includes the definition of the scope of the DT Ocean project, in which outputs from work carried out by the Ocean Energy JP fulfilled much of the requirement for background research.

ETIP Ocean
The European Technology and Innovation Platform for Ocean Energy (ETIP Ocean) project is managed by Ocean Energy Europe in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and funded by the European Commission. The key aim of ETIP Ocean is to define research and innovation priorities for the ocean energy sector and promote solutions to industry as well as European and national policy makers. In 2017, ETIP Ocean ran ten webinars and events with the purpose of encouraging knowledge exchange and collaboration within the emerging ocean energy sector.

The CEFOW (Clean Energy from Ocean Waves) project aims to deploy an array of three Wello Penguin wave energy converters (WECs) with improved power generation capability at EMEC’s grid-connected Billia Croo wave test site. The first of these was successfully installed in March 2017. The project will demonstrate that the WECs can survive in challenging sea conditions over a period of several years. In addition, a cost reduction roadmap will be developed to bring the levelised cost of wave power closer to a commercially viable level in the near future. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.




The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)
EMEC is the only accredited wave and tidal test centre for ocean energy in the world, suitable for testing multiple technologies simultaneously in harsh weather conditions. The Centre offers grid-connected test berths at two test sites – one for tidal and one for wave – and also has two scale test sites allowing smaller scale devices or those at an earlier stage of development to gain real sea experience in less challenging conditions.

2017 saw EMEC host six developers: UK-based EC-OG, Nautricity and Scotrenewables Tidal Power, Ireland-based OpenHydro, Netherlands-based Tocardo and Finnish wave developer Wello. Thirty devices from nineteen companies have now been tested on site at EMEC.

Scotrenewables Tidal Power commissioned their first full commercial scale machine, the SR1-2000 2 MW at EMEC. Following first power export in March the turbine quickly set a new tidal sector record, exporting at a peak output of 2.2 MW. The test programme demonstrated the low levelized cost of energy potential of floating tidal energy with all installation and servicing operations implemented with modest multi-cat spec’d or small crew transfer vessels.

The SR1-2000 was fully grid connected over the testing period and on average supplied the equivalent of 7% of the Orkney’s electricity demand when generating and up to 25% for shorter durations. By the end of 2017 the turbine had generated over 1.3 GWh. Scotrenewables are also working on the next iteration of their technology – the SR 2-2000 – as part of the Horizon 2020 funded FloTEC project.

71206-uk-2.jpgScotrenewables Tidal Power SR2000 (Source: Scotrenewables)


Also testing at EMEC’s tidal test site at the Fall of Warness were: Nautricity, testing their contra-rotating CoRMaT tidal turbine from April to December; Tocardo Tidal Power, testing their T2 tidal turbine from February to December as part of FORESEA; and OpenHydro, EMEC’s longest standing client, who continue to test a 250 kW scale version of their tidal technology at EMEC.

In 2017, EMEC welcomed back Finnish company Wello Oy who initially tested at EMEC in 2012. Wello’s ‘Penguin’ wave energy converter (WEC) was successfully installed by Orcadian contractor Green Marine in March as part of the EU Horizon 2020 funded CEFOW project, generating electricity into the national grid in April. The Penguin has remained on site since March, surviving numerous storms including wave heights of up to 18.7 m experienced during storm Caroline. As part of CEFOW, Plymouth and Exeter universities completed the first set of ecological surveys, which will be repeated over the following two summers to monitor the cumulative impact of multiple WECs on the seabed habitat and associated ecosystem. A further two Penguin WEC’s are due to be installed at EMEC over next two years as part of the CEFOW project to demonstrate a wave energy array.

42487-uk-3.jpgGreen Marine install Wello Penguin at EMEC wave test site at Billia Croo (Credit Colin Keldie, courtesy of CEFOW)


Aberdeen-based engineering company EC-OG tested their Subsea Power Hub (SPH) system from April to November 2017 at EMEC’s Shapinsay Sound scale test site. The SPH combines a tidal energy convertor coupled directly to a lithium based energy storage system, and has been designed to provide power to various subsea applications.

Wave Hub
Wave Hub is a pre-installed grid connected site approximately 10 nautical miles (16 km) off the north coast of Cornwall for the testing of large scale offshore renewable energy devices. The site has a Section 36 electricity consent and holds a 25-year lease for 8 square kilometres of seabed divided into four separate berths. Wave Hub is owned by BEIS and operated by Wave Hub Limited. In 2016 Seatricity installed their Oceanus 2 wave converter at Wave Hub and Carnegie Clean Energy confirmed that it intends to develop a 15 MW array of the CETO 6 wave energy converter at the Wave Hub site, planned to be installed in 2018. In 2017 GWave secured a marine licence for the installation of its 9 MW wave energy device, which is planned to be installed in 2018.


The MeyGen array, operated by Atlantis Resources in Scotland’s Pentland Firth, expanded the array to a capacity of 6 MW in 2017, completing phase 1A of the project.

In August 2017 700 MWh of electricity was generated by the MeyGen array, surpassing 1,000 MWh of generation onto the grid since project commencement.

Funding has been secured for another 6 MW of installed capacity in phase 1B. Full capacity across all phases is to be up to 398 MW.

First turbine MeygGen deployment (Source: Atlantis Resources)


Nova Innovation Shetland
In 2017 Nova successfully deployed the third 100 kW turbine of the Shetland Tidal Array, installed off the coast of Shetland, Scotland. The EnFAIT project will extend the array from three to six turbines and up to 600 kW.


The FORESEA and MaRINET 2 calls in 2017 instigated a resurgence of wave and tidal developers planning test and demonstration projects at EMEC in the course of 2018. These include CorPower, Laminaria and Magallanes.


Nova M100 tubine, installed in the Shetland Tidal Array (Source: Nova Innovation)

Fairhead Tidal
DP Energy continue to progress through planning and consenting processes with a view to install a tidal stream array at Fairhead in Northern Ireland. The first phase is to involve 4 to 6 turbines with a capacity up to 10 MW and is planned to begin construction in 2018. The full scale array is likely to be in the region of 100 MW capacity.

West of Islay Tidal Park
DP Energy was granted consent in June 2017 for 30 MW of tidal energy development.

Westray South
DP energy took over the lease for the 200 MW SSE site and are looking to update the scoping for this development.

Katanes Floating Energy Park, Dounreay, Caithness
A floating wind/wave development 2.3 km off Dounreay in Northern Scotland Each floating semi-submersible platform would host a single wind turbine of between 5 and 8 MW and wave energy convertors of between 2 and 3.6 MW capacity, deployment would be split into two phases. A screening opinion was issued in 2017 and an application is expected in 2018.

Open Hydro have a 200 MW application submitted and being considered for a tidal development on the north side of the Pentland Firth.

Scotrenewables Lashy Sound
Scotrenewables Tidal Power are applying for consent to deploy a 10 MW array at Lashy Sound in Orkney, Scotland. This array will make use of Scotrenewables’ floating tidal turbine concept.

Swansea Bay Lagoon
Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd. have plans to construct a 320 MW capacity tidal lagoon scheme in Swansea Bay, Wales. A Development Consent Order was awarded in 2015 and their application for a Marine Licence is currently being assessed by Natural Resources Wales.

Carnegie Wave Hub
Carnegie Clean Energy has entered an agreement to install a 15 MW array at the Wave Hub site in Cornwall, England, using their CETO 6 wave energy converter. Stage one commissioning is currently targeting 2018, to be followed by 12 months of operation.

Enlli Tidal Project
Nova Innovation has signed an Agreement for Lease with the crown estate to develop a 2 MW project in Bardsey Sound, North Wales. The project is currently going through the consenting phase.


Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) policy exists in UK but it is used as a decision making tool currently only in the East of England Inshore and Offshore areas.

An interactive tool – the Marine Information System - explains how marine plans apply to different marine sectors and geographic areas. It highlights policies that apply to a chosen area to inform plan users (available at:

Eleven marine plan areas will have a marine plan with a long-term (20 years) view of activities and will be reviewed every 3 years. There will be ten marine plans as the North West will have a single plan following requests to have a single process and one plan for these areas. All marine plan areas are scheduled to have a plan by 2021.

The Crown Estate carries out periodic tendering processes for wave/tidal areas. These areas are scoped and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) carried out.

The authorities involved in the consenting process are:

• Marine Management Organization (MMO);
• National Resources Wales (NRW).

In English and Welsh offshore waters, marine licenses, section 36/A consents, and safety zones are determined by the MMO. In Welsh inshore waters, marine licenses are determined by the NRW and section 36/A consents and safety zones by the MMO. Decommissioning of offshore renewable energy installations is regulated by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Main sequential steps (licenses, consents, permits) required to get permission for project deployment is presented in the following link:

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Assessment is based on the size, nature, and location of each proposal as directed by Annex II of the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 or Schedule II of the Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000.

The Marine Management Organization (MMO) is responsible for providing a decision on whether an EIA is required or the applicant can voluntarily opt in to the process.

The Environmental Statement (ES) will be submitted at the application stage for a marine license. However, draft ES chapters may be reviewed by the MMO and its technical advisors at the pre-application stage.

Legislation and regulations related solely with the consenting process for ocean energy:

• The Electricity (Offshore Generating Stations) (Applications for Consent) Regulations 2006;
• The Electricity (Offshore Generating Stations) (Safety Zones) (Application Procedures and Control of Access) Regulations 2007;
• The Electricity Act 1989 (Requirement for Consent for Offshore Wind and Water Driven Generating Stations) Order 2011.

Legislation and regulation that has been adapted to better suit ocean energy:

• Electricity Act 1989 for section 36 consents and safety zones.

Consultation process is initiated after the initial checking of the application.

This is done primarily through the online portal Marine Case Management System (MCMS) but also by email to other consultees as appropriate.

There are statutory consultees stipulated in either the Marine and Coastal Act 2009, the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 or Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000. Consultation in taken on a case-by-case basis.

There are no informal consultation activities implemented during the licensing process.

The MMO have a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) target of 13 weeks to make a determination on a marine license application from when it is received with us. There is no such KPI for 36 consents or safety zones.
Information about what permits are required, in what order and what information must be supplied at what time is available at a dedicated web link.

Usually deployment in designated test centers are already pre-consented so developers do not have to submit a full application comprising all the typical consents providing certain initial conditions are met. This is the approach encouraged for applicants to adopt in order to streamline the consenting process for the deployment of demonstration devices.