Marine energy gets strong vote of confidence with £20m of Government funding
Two British companies have been awarded a share of £20m in Government funding in an attempt to drive growth in the UK marine energy sector.
MeyGen and Sea Generation Wales received the funding under the Marine Energy Array Demonstrator (MEAD) scheme, launched in April last year by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), to kick-start the development and testing of pre-commercial marine devices in array formations.
Revealing the winners of the scheme at trade association RenewableUK’s annual conference yesterday, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said the Government supported wave and tidal power “110%”.
Bids under the MEAD scheme were judged on a range of criteria including the ability to generate a minimum of 7GWh per year and the use of at least three generating devices, previously demonstrated at full scale in sea conditions.
MeyGen is developing a tidal array in Pentland Firth, Scotland while SeaGeneration will install an array off the coast of Anglesey in Wales.
SeaGeneration’s project has only just been approved by the Welsh Government and is one of the largest projects of its kind to be consented in the UK. With a capacity of 10 megawatts, it is the first commercial tidal energy project in Welsh waters. Both projects will be up and running by the end of March 2016.
Barker also announced that wave energy technology company Pelamis Wave Power has been awarded £1.4m from the Energy Technologies Institute to develop cost-effective wave arrays in UK waters.
RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said that Barker’s comments represented a strong vote of confidence in the wave and tidal sector.
She said he backed up his rhetoric with key announcements on funding to help the industry to move from single devices in the water to full-scale arrays, so that the UK could capitalise on its global lead in the sector.
McCaffery added: “The Minister also made it clear that he’s well aware of the importance of getting the details of the Energy Bill right, so that Electricity Market Reform creates the best framework for the wave and tidal industries to achieve their full potential.
“That will only happen if a realistic level of financial support is forthcoming. The prize is enormous – an industry worth more than £6bn a year by 2035 with nearly 20,000 jobs – generating clean electricity to cut the amount of expensive fossil fuels the UK has to import, so that we can control the cost of our energy.”