A project that has been described as a ‘game-changer’ for the European tidal stream energy sector has been approved by Interreg France (Channel) England.
The TIGER project – the biggest project across all Interreg programmes – is an ambitious €46.8 million project, of which €28 million (69%) is ERDF via the programme’s funding category for low carbon technologies.
The project aims to drive the growth of tidal stream energy by installing up to 8MW of new tidal capacity at sites in and around the Channel region, helping to drive innovation and the development of new products and services.
TIGER is expected to make a stronger, more cost-effective case for tidal stream to become part of the energy mix in the UK and France by harnessing economies of scale via volume manufacturing and multi-device deployments. Coastal communities used as ports of deployment will benefit from knock-on investment and job creation.
The total theoretical tidal energy capacity in the Channel region is nearly 4GW, enough to power up to three million homes. Proving that tidal energy generation can be cost-effective on a large scale could open the door for it to become the renewable energy of choice in coastal locations with strong tidal currents globally.
Led by the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, from its office in Hayle, Cornwall, TIGER comprises 19 partners from across the UK and France spanning turbine developers, ocean energy demonstration sites, research organisations, as well local and regional authorities.
“This is a hugely ambitious project that will demonstrate the benefits of harnessing tidal energy on a large scale,” explained Carolyn Reid, Programme Manager for Interreg France (Channel) England Programme. “The long-term aim is to support the industry to reduce generating costs of tidal stream energy from the existing 300€ MW/h to 150€ MW/h by 2025 and increase uptake. There is an EU target to reach 100€/MWh by 2030.
“The project has a clear link to the programme objective to increase the development and uptake of existing or new low-carbon technologies in sectors that have the highest potential for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
“TIGER is a shining example of how European funding has enabled collaboration between organisations in the UK and France that may otherwise never have happened, and in this case could have a massive impact on reducing the carbon footprint beyond the lifetime of the project, and beyond the Channel area.”
The project is the largest ever to be approved not only by the France (Channel) England Programme but by any Interreg programme. There are 75 EU-funded Interreg programmes in the current programming period 2014-2020.