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Tidal stream industry update

DepartmentEnvironment
Author ITPEnergised on behalf of the States of Jersey
Issue date21 Mar 2018
StatusPublished
Cost£9,013.00

​This report has been prepared as part of ongoing work around assessing renewable opportunities for Jersey as outlined in Pathway 2050: An Energy Plan for Jersey. The relevant Action Statement is 22 - 'Preparing the way for offshore utility scale renewables'.

A feasibility report on the potential for tidal stream technology was carried out in 2010 by consultants IT Power. They reported to a Ministerial Advisory Group in existence at the time, the Tidal Power Commission, who were appointed to advise the Minister for Planning and Environment. Since the States Assembly adopted the Energy Plan in 2014, the role of the Tidal Power Commission has been absorbed into the wider political and stakeholder partnership, the Energy Partnership, that provides governance and oversight for the Energy Plan.

In 2010 the investigations concluded that Jersey had quite a small tidal stream resource, in total equivalent to about half of Jersey electricity demand, although not all of this would be harvestable directly into electricity. This was in contrast to the world class resource just further north of Jersey, in the Alderney Race for example. ​​It also concluded that, at the early stage the industry was at, it would cost approximately between 13 and 27p/kWh to exploit this energy, which is significantly above the cost of imported electricity from France.  Significant subsidies would be needed to make this commercially attractive. It was noted that the resource would become more appealing as the technologies and marketplace developed, and that Jersey should first concentrate on the technology blind steps around renewable energy, such as resolving ownership of the sea bed, and the legal and spatial planning framework for utility scale renewable energy, before committing to specific offshore renewable energy technologies. This work has been underway since 2010. 

Given that this initial report was carried out at a time that the tidal stream industry was in such early stages of development, this follow on report in 2017 by ITPEnergised (previously IT Power) has been carried out to:

  • reassess the tidal stream industry and see whether it has progressed in the last seven years significantly beyond the R&D phase it was at in 2010
  • assess whether any advancements in the industry make Jersey more, or less, appealing for the size of the tidal stream resource available

This latest feasibility study has shown that the tidal stream industry has not progressed as quickly, or as significantly, as was hoped. Harvest rates have remained similar to 2010, meaning that Jersey's tidal stream resource remains modest at approximately 6% of Jersey electricity demand and approximately 2% of Jersey's overall energy demand. In addition, generation costs have not fallen as anticipted and it is estimated that a 30MW farm would have levelised cost of energy £490 per MWh. The predicted costs are based on more evidence than was available in 2010, and are higher due to the slow development of the industry. These costs compare unfavourably to the cost of new offshore wind and nuclear in the UK which are currently at £57.5 MWh and £92.50 MWh (2012 prices) respectively.

More work on the potential for tidal stream energy in Jersey has been carried out to follow up on the 2010 work, and this latest report provides an update. Sadly, due to limited progress in the industry, the available amounts of tidal steam energy in Jersey's waters is very modest, and harvesting that energy would currently be cost prohibitive. Visit our tidal and wind power page for more information.


Tidal stream industry update
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