PTEC saw the potential of tidal stream energy in 2012. Exhaustive research into the environmental impact and technical feasibility studies showed the huge potential of the Isle of Wight site as a forerunner for the tidal stream industry in Britain.
The Crown Estate, who own the majority of the seabed and seashore around the UK, entered into an agreement for lease for the Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre in November 2012.
The local authority agreed permission for the onshore elements of the project in June 2015, and the Marine Management Organisation gave the offshore plans the go-ahead in April 2016.
The same year, PTEC secured a grid connection offer for 30MW and entered into partnerships with two major turbine operators for deployment offshore.
Following a change in government policy in 2016, however, the project was temporarily put on hold. Since this time, the project team together with the wider industry has lobbied government for a fair revenue support mechanism to be reinstated, which would enable the tidal stream sector to mature in the same way as wind and solar. Following an extensive period of industry collaboration and positive developments in reducing the cost of energy, PTEC restarted its development programme in October 2020.
PTEC has the potential to create hundreds of jobs and attract significant investment into the local economy. According to EMEC, in the first 15 years of its operation 1,650 cumulative full time equivalent (FTE) job years were created. In that same period, EMEC attributed to the following cumulative impacts across the UK: 4,224 FTE years and a GVA (gross value added) of £285 million.
The UK as a world leader for green energy
In October 2020, The Government announced plans to make the UK a world leader in green energy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target of net zero emissions by 2050, an ambitious target, positioning the UK as a global leader and with the potential to create up to 60,000 jobs.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of State for Business may ring-fence capacity in the next Contract for Difference round for wave and tidal energy projects. The Secretary said he is “very sympathetic” to running a “pot within a pot” to support development of marine energy schemes.
Consequently, there has been a resurgence of investment interest. With the operational experience and continued activity (UK and overseas) of companies like Orbital Marine Power, Simec Atlantis and Nova Innovation, there has never been a more exciting time for the tidal stream sector.