UK Energy Requirements
The major influence on future electrical demand will be the government’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050 combined with the move towards electric powered cars and home heating. Under most scenarios the required electrical generation capacity is expected to increase by around 50% by 2030 and by 100% or more by 2050. Given the closure of existing fossil fuel power stations and the older nuclear power stations and the recent low prices for offshore windfarms and solar PV, it seems likely that offshore wind and solar will make up a substantial proportion of the new capacity.
However, diversity of supply is now considered essential for future security of supply. New nuclear capacity seems likely to provide some of the new capacity. Power from tidal range generation in the UK can provide a further important component of a future diversified electrical supply.
Although intermittent, unlike wind power and solar tidal power is totally predictable for years ahead. Also, studies show that a combination of tidal range schemes in the Severn and the North West could provide continuous power during spring tide periods with only a 2 hour gap during neap tides. Alternatively, thanks to the reliable and predictable short no generation periods, tidal power linked to some storage, could provide continuous power.