Ocean energy versus the other

thThe head of Scottish Power has said today that the government should drop all support foe wave and tidal energy since wind and solar are getting so cheap.  Is this a case of ocean energy versus the other?  This in a week after the UK government dropped its support for the Swansea bay tidal bay scheme and as solar UK output briefly overtakes gas to become number one electricity producer last Saturday.

Up until recently I would have agreed with them but thinking it through has given me pause for thought.  One thing is off-shore wind.  This was the most expensive mainstream renewable energy until very recently.  But costs have plunged soon it will not require any subsidy.  This is because it has been given consistent support and the economies of scale and the learning curve will apply.  I have to agree with the government on the tidal lagoon that learning curves would not occur like nuclear each scheme would be effectively bespoke, but I think the benefits of it outwayed this.  There is no doubt that if wave and tidal were given consistent support costs would plunge in the same way.

Whilst wave is the same as wind for intermittency and tends to match wind output tidal is predictable and with geographic spread would do reliable base load. In addition we are electrifying the economy and will need everything we can muster.  There is only so much you can pack on to land.  Ocean energy versus the other, there should be no either or.

Neil

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