Additional ROCs for Scottish marine power

Marine power in Scotland is set to get a major finance boost in order to provide up to 10% of Scotland's electricity and create 7,000 jobs.

Scotland’s Enterprise Minister Ninol Stephen said he was taking action to award additional renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) to wave and tidal output to kick-start multimillion pound investments in marine energy.

Speaking at the Offshore Europe conference, Minister Stephen said:

“The changes I am announcing today will unlock Scotland’s marine powerhouse. Tens of millions of pounds of support will be available – with the potential for hundreds of millions to be invested in new wave and tidal projects around Scotland’s shores.”

“Our aim is to generate up to 10 per-cent of Scotland’s electricity from the sea around us. Industry experts predict that wave and tidal energy could create up to 7,000 new jobs in Scotland. Already we have the technology to become the global capital for the development and generation of energy from world’s oceans. Marine power could become one of our biggest industries of the future.”

However, he pointed out that the costs of installing and producing energy from marine devices remained very high, and that only development on a large scale could drive down costs.

As part of his amendments, wind schemes would continue to receive ROCs, but wave and tidal projects would get an even bigger boost.

“A group of industry experts have advised us that the potential exists to install over one gigawatt of wave and tidal capacity in Scottish waters. In simple terms this is around one-tenth of our total electricity production. These developments will not only boost our renewable energy output, but we can expect to see many new jobs created in the design, manufacture, installation and export of these technologies,” he said.

“The opportunity for Scottish business is truly worldwide. Already we have seen Scottish technology being used for a marine power project in Portugal. If we can establish a lead in marine energy, the global potential for our companies is massive.

“We will design the changes being announced today carefully and limit them to marine technology, to maintain investor confidence in all renewable technologies. But let us be clear – wave and tidal energy is one of Scotland’s biggest opportunities. We must take action today to produce the clean energy of tomorrow.”

The Executive’s target is that 18 per cent of electricity generated in Scotland should come from renewable sources by 2010, rising to 40 per cent by 2020.

The Renewables (Scotland) Obligation requires power suppliers to derive from renewable sources a specified proportion of the electricity they supply to their customers.

Eligible renewable generators receive Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for each MWh of electricity generated. These certificates can then be sold to suppliers, in order to fulfil their obligation. Suppliers can either present enough certificates to cover the required percentage of their output, or they can pay a ‘buyout’ price.

The Executive will now consider the amendments necessary to the Obligation which will allow additional ROCs to be provided for units of output from wave and tidal devices.

The Forum for Renewable Energy Development Scotland (FRESD) published a report ‘Harnessing Scotland’s Marine Energy Potential’ in 2004 which assessed the potential for developing wave and tidal energy in Scotland, and produced an action plan for developing that potential.

The report can be found at FRESD

By David Hopkins

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