BWEA call for action on wave and tidal energy
The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has called for government action to kick start the UK wave and tidal energy sector, saying that the country could easily become the world leader in its development and deployment.
Its main recommendation is that Government set up a £75 million Marine Performance Fund which would pay out to marine energy projects on the basis of the amount of electricity generated. This would focus on rewarding success and offer the tax payer best value for money, the report says, and replace the current system of capital grants.
In order to receive these supplementary payments, wave and tidal projects would simply register their renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) as would any other renewable energy generator. However, the ROCs from marine projects would be "photocopied".
The original ROCs would be traded in the market as normal, while the "photocopied ROCs" would entitle the generator to supplementary payments directly from the Marine Performance Fund.
The study recommends an additional 10 pence per kWh for ROCs from marine projects.
While the fund is visible to investors, no payments are made from it without first producing a ROC. "Hence the system creates an incentive to invest without committing the payment of government support until success has been achieved," the report states.
It stresses that this would leave the mainstream ROCs market unaffected.
Marcus Rand, BWEA CEO, said: "The Marine Performance Fund is a smart and innovative idea as it rewards the winners but doesn't ask Government to pick them in advance. The tax payer will be rewarding successful projects and catalysing the private sector to invest in the industry at this critical stage. If we get this right we will be taking the first steps in creating a world beating industry."
The Government is expected to finalise its 2004 spending review plans in the next few weeks. The total amount proposed by the study for allocation to wave and tidal amounts to £130 million.
By David Hopkins