TIDAL energy projects in Scotland received a boost today after the Scottish Government announced plans to increase the financial support they could get.
As part of a review of the state support for renewables projects, given out through so-called renewables obligation certificates, or ROCs, tidal projects could get the same support as wave energy schemes – at a level more than any other form of renewable energy.
However, support for large-scale biomass plants could to be cut, under the proposals put out for consultation today.
The rest of the proposals, which include reduced support for hydro power and offshore and onshore wind, were in line with the UK Government’s proposed ROCs scheme, announced on Thursday.
These increased support for wave and tidal power in England and Wales, which had previously lagged behind that seen in Scotland.
ScottishRenewables welcomed the increased support for tidal power.
Jenny Hogan, its director of policy, said: “Scotland has already established itself as a world-leader in marine energy technologies and increased support will help us stay ahead of our competitors and guarantee its long-term future.
“We currently have around two megawatts of tidal power under demonstration in Scottish waters, with more than one gigawatt of projects with seabed leases.
“The enhanced support should create the right conditions for these developments to progress to full commercial scale.”
However, she said: “Uncertainty remains around larger-scale hydro and biomass and we will be working closely with our members to understand the impact of the proposals on these sectors.”
Under the proposals, tidal schemes would get five ROCs per MW hour, up from three, which would put it on a par with wave power.
The UK Government’s proposals would see support for wave and tidal schemes in England and Wales increase from two to five ROCs per megawatt hour.
However, the UK Government has proposed a cap restricting the support to schemes below 30MW. Those above that level would get two ROCs.
The Scottish government would be seeking views on applying a cap.
It has also raised the possibility of a cap on the size of biomass plant which would receive support.
Wind, wave and tidal body RenewableUK responded cautiously to the proposals. It said the boost to wave and tidal in the UK was a “major win”.
But it said reducing support for onshore wind farms would hit the number of projects getting built, particularly smaller, community schemes.
The new ROCs are due to come into force in 2013 and last until 2017.