Harnessing the full potential of marine energy could provide enough power for up to 15 million homes and save up to 70 million tons of C02 by 2050 according to the Government’s Marine Energy Action Plan, released on March 15th. The document also highlights the potential for the marine energy sector to provide up to 16,000 jobs, with a quarter of these in exports.
Launching the plan at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, home of the 1.2MW SeaGen turbine – the world’s first operating, commercial-scale tidal stream turbine, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Minister of State for Energy said: “Harnessing the power of our seas will help us reduce our carbon emissions, provide clean, green, secure and reliable energy, create jobs and provide export opportunities."
“This Action Plan sets out our vision for what marine energy can do for the UK and what we need to do to make it happen. I look forward to working with industry and other partners to get the most out of our waters and build a new, world-leading energy generation sector in the UK.”
The Plan – which has been developed by Government jointly with industry – sets out the actions needed to drive the marine energy sector forward.
Key recommendations include:
- Forming a UK-wide strategic coordination group to develop a planning and consenting roadmap for all types of marine renewables;
- Consideration of support levels for marine technologies under the review of banding of the Renewables Obligation in Autumn;
- Ensuring that the appropriate levels of targeted funding are available to bridge the technology market failures that exist in this developing sector, subject to the budgets in the next public spending round;
- Leveraging private equity, and in the longer term, project capital into the sector;
- Establishing guidelines and best practice in the development of new technologies; and
- Building a UK marine energy supply chain and utilising the current skills base already established from the offshore wind, oil and gas, and maritime industries.
Lord Hunt also announced the establishment of a Ministerial Task Force on Marine Energy, which will bring together key players to oversee future work on the Marine Energy Action Plan.
- The full Marine Energy Action plan is available to download at http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/uk_supply/energy_mix/renewable/explained/wave_tidal/funding/marine_action_/marine_action_.aspx
- “Marine Energy” refers to wave, tidal stream and tidal range energy generation technologies.