C.M. Johnstone, D. Pratt, J.A. Clarke, A.D. Grant – Renewable Energy, January 2013
The choice of which type of electrical power generation technology to adopt is driven by a number of factors including: cost of generated electricity; responsiveness of generating plant to demand; security of supply/resource availability; environmental impact; and execution risk. Within these, tidal energy is unique as a renewable technology since it has the capability of providing predictable, firm power contributing to security of supply. This predictability gives tidal energy additional value in a future electricity market. Especially one where stochastic renewable technologies contribute to a sizable component of the power supplied; and where reserve capacity is required to maintain supply during periods of non-availability. In the shorter term, in order for tidal energy to gain commercial acceptance, tidal technologies under development need to produce electricity at a competitive price. This paper examines the drivers influencing electricity pricing; current tidal energy developments, aimed at reducing capital costs; and bench-mark these against offshore wind.