Wave and tidal plan must be followed by Government investment

Wave and tidal plan must be followed by Government investment

Wave & tidal to power up to 1.4 million homes by 2020.
UK’s biggest wave and tidal energy conference starts today.
Extra £150-£200 million needed ‘over next Parliament to create world class industry’.
SEA to look at sites for offshore renewables.
Association launches Budget 2010 proposals.

RenewableUK (formerly BWEA), the country’s leading renewable energy trade association, called at its annual wave and tidal energy conference for the Government to invest a further £150-£200 million in the two technologies, with a view of solidifying the UK’s lead in the sector and creating world class wave and tidal industries. This follows the release by the Government today of the new Strategic Environmental Assessment for offshore energy. Over the last decade the Government has invested around £60 million in wave and tidal research and development. RenewableUK’s ‘State of the Wave and Tidal Industry’ report forecasts that as much as 2 gigawatts (GW) of marine energy could be installed in the UK by 2020 – enough to power 1.4 million homes.

Peter Madigan, the association’s Head of Offshore Renewables said: “The SEA for offshore energy is a welcome initiative. However, there needs to be a greater awareness on the initial investment needs of this industry. The Danish government spent £1.3 billion to establish onshore wind, which currently brings £2.7 billion per year in revenue. A properly capitalised wave and tidal sector could create 43,500 direct jobs and generate a potential £4.2 billion per year in revenue for the UK economy.”

RenewableUK’s ‘State of the Wave and Tidal Industry’ report, released at the conference, states that the UK is still leading the world with the largest installed generating base of 2.4 megawatts (MW), a further 27MW with planning consent, 77.5MW of projects in planning, and 700MW expected in the Pentland Firth area by 2020. In total, RenewableUK forecasts 1-2 GW of wave and tidal energy installations in the UK by 2020, contributing significantly to the country’s carbon reduction targets.

Maria McCaffery, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, said: “We have recently seen a number of energy industry giants such as Siemens and Vattenfall take a keen interest in wave and tidal energy, and strong sector interest in the Pentland Firth leasing round. The appetite for development is there. The Government now needs to pledge £150-£200 million over the next Parliament to get the first generation of arrays into the water. This relatively modest outlay will ensure that we have a world beating marine energy industry.”

RenewableUK also released today a comprehensive set of proposals for the 2010 Budget, expected later this month, including:
a strong case for a new state-backed finance institution to ensure sufficient capital flows to the renewable energy sector;
further funds to solve aviation objections to wind power developments;
action to drive investment in the offshore wind industry supply chain.

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