The Trend Away from Infrastructure for Renewable Energy
Jun 26, 2018
The $1.6 bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon has been rejected by the UK government. Tidal barriers for the Severn Estuary in the UK have been studied for 100 years. This subset of the opportunity created by the exceptionally high tides has now been ditched because the electricity produced would be too expensive even when costs are spread over decades. Following 18 months of analysis, ministers have decided that the renewable energy project will not receive any subsidy support. Business secretary Greg Clark told the House of Commons the project "however novel and appealing" did not demonstrate value for money for consumers and the general public.
IDTechEx analyst on zero emission energy, Dr Peter Harrop, has led teams responsible for new reports on most aspects. He commented, "The media coverage is highly emotional and rejoinders by those proposing and supporting the scheme miss the point. Yes, its long term costs are comparable to nuclear power supported by the government with a recent commitment to a large nuclear power station. However, the parliamentary watchdog committee subsequently assessed that as being a mistake, unnecessarily wasting money when wind and solar with energy storage would be more economical for base power. Comparisons with offshore wind are also misleading. The cost of solar power is dropping much faster than wind power and it will go below even onshore wind within a few years, with energy storage dropping in cost as well. The massive concrete and steel structures of tidal barriers, river dams and offshore wind are increasingly questioned with many zero infrastructure options coming in such as the invisible 1.5MW turbines in open sea feeding into the grid in Scotland and orders reaching 100MW at a time for invisible wave power farms with no infrastructure. Both tidal and wave power are virtually baseload, some wave power working well with only one meter waves and some tides turning in only 5-10 minutes. A bridge in France is being built with tidal turbines in it: no separate infrastructure. The way of the future is invisible zero emission harvesting that is almost continuous. There is even a bigger picture here with making electricity where you need it. Invisible building integrated photovoltaics and solar roads lets us abandon ugly, expensive power lines from the grid. Indeed, in the next two years, four companies promise solar cars needing no charging infrastructure."
See www.IDTechEx.com/research/offgrid for more IDTechEx research on off grid zero emission energy.
Top image source: Tidal Lagoon Power