Wave and tidal power '˜could make UK an energy leader'

Plans to double government spending on energy innovation to £500 million could help the UK become a world-leader if the funds are targeted in the right areas, according to a new report.

The report argued that the UK already leads the world in wave and tidal energy. Picture: Scottish Renewables

The UK government has committed to significantly increase spending over the next five years in a bid to strengthen future security of energy supply, reduce the costs of decarbonisation and boost industrial and research capabilities.

In a report, industry body Scottish Renewables has now identified six key innovation areas it believes could help deliver a low-carbon, low-cost energy sector which would put the UK at the forefront.

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Policy officer Hannah Smith said the increased spending has the “potential to drive dramatic advances in our energy system”.

Wave and tidal energy are among the target areas the report highlights, arguing the UK already leads the world with facilities like the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

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The report said that storage technologies could also enable increased renewables capacity by storing electricity at times of low demand and said further investment in floating offshore wind developments could open huge areas of the world’s deepest oceans to renewable generation.

It also highlighted the potential payback from developing low carbon heat technologies as well as integrating heat, transport and electricity sectors in one system.

Finally, Scottish Renewables said a more flexible power system with increased interconnection with other markets and more effective use of demand reduction initiatives was also key.

“Government is in a unique position to mobilise a variety of resources and agencies, creating the right landscape for innovation to occur. This would lay the foundations for British businesses developing innovative products and services to flourish,” said Smith.

The report calls for the development of an energy innovation strategy to guide the increased investment to “get the most out of every pound”.