Resources and technologies

We are committed to working with industry and stakeholders to successfully exploit the UK's significant tidal and wave energy resources.

Tidal energy

Tidal energy can be harnessed in two ways: by exploiting the change in height of water as the tide flows and ebbs (tidal range), or extracting energy directly from the flowing current (tidal current).

  • Tidal range: over 500 MW of tidal range projects have been installed around the world to date, but there is not yet a commercial project in the UK. A number of industry organisations have commercial interests in building tidal lagoon and tidal barrage schemes.
  • Tidal current: much of the activity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland waters, and in the sector more generally, has been focussed on the deployment of single unit testing and demonstration.  Several multi-unit array projects of up to 30 MW have been proposed over the coming years. 

Wave energy

Wave energy occurs in the movements of water, caused by the wind, near the sea surface. This energy is strongest offshore, but it is also possible to harness near the coast. A wide range of wave energy converter technologies has been proposed, some of which are being tested as full-scale prototypes. Further testing and development is currently underway to make the technologies ready for initial array projects in future years.

Full reports available here

Key resource areas

In 2012 The Crown Estate published findings of a study of the UK's wave and tidal energy resources. The study concluded that there is potential for tens of gigawatts of wave and tidal generation projects around the UK. It also identified areas of high resource for each technology, as detailed in the map contained within the report.