SSE responds to wave and tidal withdrawal claims

Major utility SSE says wave and tidal is an important technology for the UK's renewable generation capacity, despite speculation that it is scaling back investment in marine-based technologies.

SSE has confirmed that it is currently undertaking a review of its marine (wave and tidal) portfolio and is assessing options for the progression of the development projects involved.

Spurring speculation, the utility has said it is discussing options with its joint venture partners and a number of other key stake holders in the sector.

Although the company has announced that it is reconsidering its four major projects off the Orkney Islands and in the Pentland Firth off Scotland, it has denied that it will be pulling out.

Responding to the speculation, SSE stated: “Although there is considerable marine energy technology development to be done over the next few years, SSE continues to believe that marine-based technologies (wave and tidal) have the potential to make an important contribution to the UK’s renewable generation capacity in the next decade.

“We are working on a plan which will maintain interest in SSE’s marine development projects and facilitate additional third party involvement in the future to help take the projects forward to consent application, commercial-scale investment readiness and ultimately delivery of new marine generation capacity,” it continued.

Reacting to the speculation, the REA has called for greater practical support for wave and tidal projects.

It highlighted those backing the technology, including major energy utility Scottish Power, the Scottish Government and DECC, who it claims have all shown “tremendous commitment”.

REA head of marine Dr Steph Merry commented: “While SSE’s possible withdrawal from the sector is unsettling, the REA acknowledges and congratulates those organisations whose continued involvement will enable the industry to develop.

“For example we commend the actions of Scottish Power, existing investors and technology and project developers and the Scottish Government in promoting the sector as the industry seeks to move from being a developing technology to commercial viability, delivering significant clean energy for the UK.”

According to the Carbon Trust, wave and tidal sources could provide up to 20% of the UK’s power if fully developed.

Leigh Stringer

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