Home » Could new Strategic Resource Areas boost tidal energy in Wales?

The Welsh Government is seeking views on the introduction of a new Marine Planning Notice identifying Strategic Resource Areas (SRAs) for tidal stream energy.

Tidal stream energy generation is a strategic priority under the current programme for government and there are a series of imminent deployments expected at the Morlais tidal demonstration zone off the coast of Anglesey.

The sector has newly attracted revenue support through the UK Government’s annual auction rounds for low carbon energy generation and is rapidly preparing for array deployments in both Wales and Scotland.

Having delivered over £45m of benefits to the Welsh economy to date, more investment and growth is expected over the coming years as the Morlais zone slowly builds out its 240 MW capacity. Beyond that, we estimate that at least 1 GW of clean power could be provided by tidal energy in Welsh waters but where will those sites be developed? That’s where the tidal SRAs come in.

Building on prior work that identified Wales’s tidal stream resource areas, the SRAs revise these -removing areas under hard constraints such as shipping lanes, military usage and existing infrastructure which would otherwise prevent tidal farms being developed in the zones.

Credit: Welsh Government

The purpose of the SRAs is to effectively safeguard these zones so that they are not sterilised by other developments. Any proposals to use these areas of seabed will need to demonstrate compatibility with tidal stream development, effectively ensuring that future generations can continue to access Wales’s tidal stream resource.

Whilst this does not guarantee environmental consent, or that projects in these areas will be automatically approved, this does represent a significant step forward in determining a future pipeline of tidal opportunities in Wales – a move that will only strengthen appetites for investment in this growing sector.

You can find out more about the proposed SRAs and submit a response here.

The deadline to respond to the consultation is the 5th of June 2024.