Interreg France (Channel) England Programme – an EU programme set up to foster economic development around the Channel regions of the UK and France – has approved a new project that it says will be a “game-changer for the tidal stream energy sector”.
The Tidal Stream Industry Energiser Project – known as TIGER – is an ambitious €46.8m low carbon technology project, of which €28m comes from the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme.
The total theoretical tidal energy capacity in the Channel region is estimated to be around 4GW – enough to power up to three million homes. Over the next three years, the TIGER project will see the installation of 8MW of new tidal capacity at sites in and around the Channel region – leading to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 11,000 tonnes per year and creating new economic investment in coastal communities.
Led by the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, TIGER comprises 19 partners from the UK and France spanning turbine developers, ocean energy demonstration sites, research organisations, and local and regional authorities. “This is a hugely ambitious project that will demonstrate the benefits of harnessing tidal energy on a large scale,” says Carolyn Reid, programme manager for Interreg France. “The long-term aim is to reduce generating costs of tidal stream energy from the existing 300€ MW/h to 150€ MW/h by 2025.
“TIGER is a shining example of how EU funding has enabled collaboration between organisations in the UK and France that might otherwise have never happened – and will have a massive impact on reducing the carbon footprint beyond the lifetime of the project.”
The TIGER program will start by helping to develop the Atlantis tidal project at Raz Blanchard, off the coast of Normandy, France – which will then sell its generated energy to the island of Alderney. “It's an honour to work with the world’s leading marine energy companies and academic institutions,” says Tim Cornelius, president of Atlantis Energy. “We are excited to be working on such a collaborative initiative which will set an example for how industries can unite behind a common cause to deliver decarbonisation, technology disruption and progress at scale. “The Channel region is now set to join Scotland as a world leader in marine energy project development at a time when governments around the world are finally seeing the value in cost effective solutions for non-visually intrusive, predictable, reliable and environmentally benign energy generation solutions. “This project will serve a dual purpose – it will help to decarbonise the island of Alderney and prepare regional and national governments for the development of large-scale tidal power arrays to harvest some of the 4GW of available energy waiting to be tapped.”
I normally restrict my comments to scientific matters about which I have some knowledge BUT this is so unacceptable as to be off the scale.
Accelerating decline in ocean health reported in latest EU Copernicus research
The third edition of the Ocean State Report (OSR) describes the continuation of trends highlighted in last year’s edition, but at an alarmingly accelerating pace. Dramatic changes in sea ice extent at the poles, increased ocean heat content, deoxygenation, and even the appearance of a giant hole in the Antarctic ice are but a snapshot of the bleak outlook divulged in the report. The Copernicus Marine Service’s OSR is published as an annual special supplement in the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology’s (IMarEST) Journal of Operational Oceanography. It provides a comprehensive and state-of-the-art assessment of the current state, natural variations and changes in the global ocean and European regional seas.
The 133-page report is intended to act as a reference document, particularly for those within the ocean science and business communities. A summary of the report designed to boost ocean literacy amongst the general public and decision-makers has also been published. The OSR provides a 4-D view including forecasts from above (through satellite remote sensing data) and from the interior (in situ measurements) of the blue (e.g. hydrography, currents), white (e.g. sea ice) and green (e.g. phytoplankton) ocean. It is written by more than 100 scientific experts from over 30 European institutions, drawing on data from the European Union’s Copernicus Earth Observation programme Mercator Ocean International – a centre for ocean analysis and forecasting.
The third edition of the report draws attention to the changes that have occurred in the marine environment in 2017. Ongoing rising heat content of the global ocean and European regional seas is reported, with 2017 cited as the 6th warmest year for sea surface temperatures on record in the Mediterranean Sea. The Pacific Island States will be particularly vulnerable to this changing marine environment, as the Copernicus Marine Atlas shows them to have been subjected to a +0.02℃ increase in sea surface temperature per year since 1993. There have also been substantial modifications at the base of marine food chains, where phytoplankton – whose photosynthesis contributes more than half of the Earth’s oxygen content – are declining. Chlorophyll-A (the proxy used to monitor phytoplankton abundance) has been diminishing at -0.4% per year – a very worrying trend considering they also consume an enormous amount of carbon. With such sustained and drastic ocean warming, sea level rise and a decrease in the base of the marine food chain (phytoplankton), the Pacific States will face unprecedented threats to the three pillars of sustainable development: economy, environment, and society.
The Arctic region is warming twice as fast as the global mean and is undergoing drastic changes. Since 1993, sea ice extent has declined by 770,000 square kilometres (-5.89%) per decade - equivalent to well over two times the area of Germany. A not too dissimilar picture is painted on the other side of the globe, where the Antarctic has also seen a sharp decrease in sea ice extent in 2016 and 2017. Previously, since the beginning of the Copernicus Marine record in 1993 until around 2015, sea ice had actually been slowly but steadily expanding, with a record high in 2014 that lasted several months. However, from late 2014 to 2017 there was a staggering loss of some 2 million square kilometres of sea ice - equivalent to nearly four times the area of Spain, lost in three years. This sudden and substantial event is made even more worrisome by the reopening of a large hole (polynya) in the Antarctic winter sea-ice cover. The opening in the Weddell Sea reached 80,000 square kilometres at its peak and stayed open for nearly three months. This marked the first reopening of the Polynya to this extent since it was first observed in the winters of 1974-76.
The report arrives amid the fervent anticipation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report: “The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” released on Wednesday 25th September, which is expected to corroborate the findings of OSR3.
“The third edition of the ocean state report continues to paint a grave picture. We must listen to what our life-sustaining oceans are telling us and act immediately. The IMarEST eagerly awaits the release of the IPCC special report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate next week to hear what options are available so that we can begin implementing robust climate-resilient pathways to work towards a sustainable blue economy” David Loosley, IMarEST Chief Executive
Read the Ocean State Report
Published periodically, the Journal of Operational Oceanography disseminates the latest research into a range of maritime environmental issues as explored through the lens of ocean science. To learn more and subscribe, visit: www.tandfonline.com/tjoo.
News | 27 July 2019
'The final months of 2019 could be a tipping point for UK science'
Wellcome's Chair, Eliza Manningham-Buller, has written to new Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to make a significant statement on science as soon as possible.
Dear Prime Minister,
Congratulations on becoming Prime Minister.
I write to urge you to set out as early as possible a bold and ambitious vision for UK science. From what you said outside Downing Street on Wednesday, and from your time as Mayor of London, I know that you understand the vital importance of supporting science for our prosperity, our health and for finding solutions to many of the challenges we face.
Investment in research and development should be at the heart of such a vision. We welcome the existing commitment to increasing R&D investment, but if we are to remain a science superpower, we will need to mirror those countries who plan to spend much more than we do, such as Germany. The key to this will be to ensure that increased public investment leads to an even greater private sector contribution towards the development and use of new technologies, including through patient capital.
Science is increasingly collaborative and international. We must become a global science hub, and to do this we need a much more welcoming immigration policy designed to attract the best researchers and their families to the UK. We need their talent to stimulate our own research.
Through our strength in research we can lead the response to global health emergencies such as Ebola. ODA funding underpins the UK’s work on this and needs to be maintained, not least as it can also attract philanthropy from elsewhere.
We could also become a world leader in the regulation of emerging technologies, such as genome editing and AI, and export this around the world.
Wellcome spends around £1 billion a year to support research, and most of our money is spent in the UK because it has a thriving sector. Leaving the EU without a deal is a threat to that. I am afraid that some damage has already been done, with loss of researchers, and influence. While science promotes global collaboration, the barriers to success need to be minimized, including with Europe where our closest and most extensive science relationships are. That means negotiating associated country status in the EU’s ‘Horizon Europe’ research programme, even if we intend to create our own systems in the years ahead.
The final months of 2019 could be a tipping point for UK science: either an exciting moment of renewed purpose and ambition, or the point at which the UK’s scientific reputation and success starts to wane. A significant statement on science from you therefore matters very much.
Baroness Manningham-Buller LG, DCB, FMedSci
Chair, Wellcome Trust