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Record-breaking tidal-energy firm looks to foreign shores due to government position

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A British company with the world’s most powerful working tidal-stream turbine has vowed to focus on overseas business because of a lack of government support, despite smashing energy generation records.

Scotrenewables Tidal Power’s 2MW floating turbine, which travels into a position as a boat before laying a flexible mooring and harnessing tidal energy, clocked over 3GWh of renewable energy in its first year of testing at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, Scotland.

The SR2000 supplied the equivalent of the annual electricity demand of 830 UK households, at times supplying over 25% of demand on the Orkney Islands. The 3GWh generated in 12 months was more than the total generated over the previous 12 years by the wave and tidal sector in Scotland.

Despite the success, Scotrenewables CEO Andrew Scott said: “We are dismayed that there is a total lack of market support here in the UK for our technology, and we have no option but to focus our business on overseas opportunities.”

The end of the SR2000’s first year of testing follows the government’s rejection of the Tidal Lagoon Power project in Swansea Bay.

A May report by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult said the tidal-stream industry could generate a net cumulative benefit to the UK of £1.4bn, including “considerable” exports and support for 4,000 jobs, by 2030.

Scotrenewables will now build a 2MW commercial production unit of the SR2000.

“The SR2000’s phenomenal performance has set a new benchmark for the tidal industry,” said Scott. “Despite being an R&D project, and it being our first full-scale turbine, its first year of testing has delivered a performance level approaching that of widely deployed mature renewable technologies.”

He added: “The ability to easily access the SR2000 for routine maintenance has been a significant factor in our ability to generate electricity at such levels over the past 12 months, including over winter. In addition, accessing the SR2000 using rigid inflatable boats and other similar types of low-cost vessel means that our operating costs and outage times are kept to a minimum.”

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