Government must adopt ‘visionary approach” to marine renewables

The UK marine renewables industry has the potential to supply 20% of current energy demand, cut carbon emissions and offer a more "reliable and predictable" source of energy than other renewables, according to a new report.

Released yesterday (February 19), the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) report ‘The Future of Marine Renewables in the UK’ concluded that the Britain could become a “leading exporter” of wave and tidal power equipment – if the Government adopted a more “visionary approach” to marine renewables development.

It added that developing a “thriving” wave and tidal industry could generate economic benefits to the UK, as companies export marine technologies, such as equipment, specialist skills and expertise.
Chair of committee Tim Yeo MP, said: “Britannia really could rule the waves when it comes to marine renewable energy.

“We are extremely well placed to lead the world in wave and tidal technologies, which could potentially bring significant benefits in manufacturing and jobs, as well an abundant supply of reliable low-carbon electricity.”

However, the report warned that while the UK is currently the “world leader” in the development of wave and tidal energy technologies that an “overly cautious approach” to sector development may see other less risk-averse countries take the lead.

As a result, the report has identified a number of potential obstacles that could “hinder” the development of the UK’s marine renewables industry, including investor confidence, policy certainty, public-private risk sharing, grid connections and training.

Mr Yeo added: “It should be a priority for the Government to ensure that the UK remains at the cutting edge of developments in this technology and does not allow our lead to slip.”

The report was welcomed by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) for acknowledging the “potential” of UK marine renewables, but warned it was “unrealistic” in cost projections.

REA head of marine Dr Stephanie Merry, added: “The report rightfully recognises the need to expand our skills base at the university level to unlock the huge potential for green jobs and growth in marine renewables.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

Carys Matthews

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