In his keynote address at a conference in Belfast, Energy Minister Gregory Barker said: “The UK is seen as the destination for wave and tidal energy and we want to keep it that way.”
He vowed to work with the industry to move forward on commercial deployment, urging the industry “let’s unlock together the untapped potential and make 2014 a marine year to remember”.
He also took the opportunity “to reiterate the strong commitment of coalition government to this sector”. He recognised the economic potential of a “supply chain rich in growth”, based in remote areas where “the regeneration opportunities that this industry brings can potentially transform a local economy”.
In his speech, Tom Greatrex, the MP for Rutherglen, near Glasgow, and Shadow Energy Minister, described the marine energy industry as a “sector with huge potential and massive opportunities, in which we’re seeing considerable progress each year towards commercialisation.
“It can contribute to security of supply, help meet our climate targets and help us see some of the transformation we need in the economy to rebalance it away from the south east of England”.
Maria McCaffery, Renewable UK Chief Executive, said: “It’s terrific to see such close cross-party unity here. We’ve seen real strides forward for wave and tidal under the strong leadership of the Energy and Climate Change Minister Gregory Barker, and with the right level of political backing, the wave and tidal energy industries will continue to grow, to take their place alongside other renewables as one of the very cornerstones of the UK’s new clean-tech economy.
The speeches came in the week that the Department of Energy awarded more than £500,000 to the tidal power company Minesto, together with IT Power and National Physical Laboratory, in the second round of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund. The funding will be used to extend ocean trials at the Deep Green tidal current power plant in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, to validate its commercial performance.