Ireland and UK energy ministers back ocean power

Irish and United Kingdom ministers have pledged to work together to unlock the potential of ocean power around the coastlines and called on the European Union (EU) to back the technology.

Ministers last week called on the EU to give its full backing to the development of massive ocean energy resources available in the UK and Ireland.

The governments spoke out jointly as they supported to a Member State Position Paper on Ocean Energy, issued jointly by them and the leaders of Norway, Spain, Portugal, France and Denmark.

The paper sets out the potential for the Ocean Energy sector to fill 15% of European Union energy demand and create around 314,000 new jobs across the continent by 2050.

UK energy sectary, Charles Hendry, said: “There is an abundant energy resource in European waters and there is a clear appetite from individual states to make the most of it.

“Here in the UK we have set out ambitious plans to be a world leader in marine energy and get projects off the drawing board and into the water.”

Irish energy minister, Pat Rabbitte, said: “Marine energy represents a unique opportunity for the future supply of renewable energy – but also for the creation of many thousands of highly skilled and sustainable jobs.

“Europe has an enormous marine energy resource and it is vital that the European Commission provides the support necessary to accelerate the commercial development of this vitally important sector.”

Northern Ireland, minister of enterprise, trade and investment, Arlene Foster, added: “There is huge potential for marine energy in Northern Ireland.

“A Strategic Environment Assessment has already identified that up to 300MW of tidal stream resource could be developed by 2020 and there is more resource that could be developed in the longer term. To make the most of this resource, a Northern Ireland Offshore Leasing Round was launched in March 2011.”

Luke Walsh

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