Marine power gets £20m boost

28th June 2011


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  • Energy ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Generation

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IEMA

Two UK marine energy projects are to benefit from £20 million of government funding through a new DECC scheme, climate change minister Greg Barker has announced.

Due to launch next spring, the new fund has been created specifically to provide financial support for the final stages of development to help move the technology across to mainstream energy generation.

Barker, announcing the scheme during a visit to the head office of wave power firm Pelamis in Edinburgh, confirmed the government’s belief that Britain can be a world leader in marine power.

“We have decades of expertise in offshore industries and the most advanced devices are already being developed here,” he said.

“This money will take marine power to the next stage of development and a step closer to being a real contender in the future energy market.”

The news has received a cautious welcome from the industry, with support mixed with calls for the government to recognise greater funding is needed.

RenewableUK, the UK’s largest wind and marine energy trade association, warns that a further £60 million funding from the planned Green Investment Bank is needed to cement the UK’s place as a world leader.

“The first generation of marine energy projects is likely to cost £80 million per 10 MW scheme, and we need at least three or four projects to drive costs down and achieve the best technical solutions to maintain our premier global position in this field. So, £20 million is a good start – but it’s only a drop in the ocean,” said Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK.

The Renewable Energy Association’s head of marine renewables, Dr Stephanie Merry, echoed McCaffery’s sentiments.

“The government talks of these technologies having the potential to meet 15-20% of the UK’s electricity demand by 2050 and improving our security of supply, but that isn’t going happen unless device and project developers get consistent encouragement over the long term.”

The £20 million of funding has been allocated from DECC’s £200 million budget for low carbon technologies, but adds up to less than half of the funding offered by the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund which was closed by government in March.

The amount also adds up to just half of the support government could offer under EU state aid rules.

Barkers announcement came just days after marine power firm Peel Energy, confirmed that it was halting development work on a tidal power system in the Mersey Estuary as the current support offered under Renewable Obligation Certificates is not enough to make the project financially viable.

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