Vision essential to drive UK marine power sector

8th March 2012


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  • Manufacturing ,
  • Renewable

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IEMA

Up to 20% of domestic electricity could eventually be provided by wave and tidal power, according to a new report from the energy and climate change committee

The committee also concludes that the marine energy industry in the UK has the potential to be a world leader in the technology. Realising both ambitions, however, will require the government to adopt a more visionary approach to developing marine renewables.

The committee points out that an abundance of natural resource, a long history of academic research, world-class testing facilities and a strong skills base in other maritime industries mean that the UK is currently the world leader in the development of wave and tidal energy technologies. Of the eight full-scale prototype devices installed worldwide, seven are in UK waters.

The country’s existing advantage is at risk though, warn the MPs, who argue that the government is taking an overly cautious approach to developing the sector.

They liken the current position of the UK’s marine energy sector to that of wind generation in the 1980s, when early technological leadership over competitors was allowed to slip.

“In the 1980s the UK squandered the lead it had in wind power development and now Denmark has a large share of the worldwide market in turbine manufacturing,” says the report.

The committee advocates the creation of a strong political vision to boost confidence and drive the pace of development in order to reap the rewards of a successful wave and tidal power industry, which could create 10,000 (mostly manufacturing) jobs by 2020.

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