Government to pour funding into hydropower

Millions of pounds of funding will be poured into hydropower in a bid to progress the technology, the Government announced this morning (June 28).

The decision reflect the Government’s view that while hydropower is a promising technology, not enough is being done to develop it on a large scale in the UK.

With the funding, which amounts to £20million, the Government continues to show it is remaining steadfast in its support for a variety of technologies, while not backing any particular one as the leader.

Cash from the scheme is expected to become available in spring next year, but is subject to a value for money assessment, and will be aimed at large-scale renewable producers.

Climate change minister, Greg Barker, who is visiting Scotland today, has pledged the cash to take marine power devices ‘to the next level of development’.

On a visit to Pelamis Wave Power at Leith Docks in Edinburgh, Mr Barker reiterated the Government’s view that wave power can meet between 15 and 20% of the UK’s current electricity demand by 2050.

He said: “Marine power has huge potential in the UK not just in contributing to a greener electricity supply and cutting emissions, but in supporting thousands of jobs in a sector worth a potential £15 billion to the economy to 2050.

“Britain can be a world leader, as we have decades of expertise in offshore industries and the most advanced devices are already being developed here.

“Our geography gives us access to rich marine resources which act as a natural laboratory to test and run devices in realistic conditions, especially in Scotland and the South West where innovative work is already being carried out.

“The money we’re announcing today will take marine power to the next stage of development in the UK and a step closer to being a real contender in the future energy market.”

Also today, Mr Barker will chair the second meeting of the UK Marine Energy Programme Board, which was set up to help advance the industry, at Edinburgh University.

At the meeting the minister is due to meet key marine energy experts and hear from representatives from Regen South West who will present their ideas on how Marine Energy Parks can be set up.

Luke Walsh

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