After Scottish Energy Strategy, MPs call for wave and tidal power plan to help UK win ocean energy race

Leaders of the marine energy industry and MPs from across the main UK political spectrum are calling for wave and tidal power to be included in the British government’s new industrial strategy.

This follows today’s publication of the new ‘Ocean Energy Race’ report on the industry by RenewableUK which highlights the value of the marine energy industry to the UK in terms of economic growth.

The R-UK call also follows publication last month of the Scot-Govt’s draft Scottish Energy Strategy.

In this, the Scot-Govt. vows to ‘support the future development of marine energy in Scotland’ and pledges to “work with the sector to demonstrate strong industrial potential of marine energy and to press for continued UK Government support”.

The wave and tidal sector is providing jobs and attracting millions of pounds in investment to some of the areas of the UK which need them most – such as the Highlands and Islands. For example: –

  • The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney is at the forefront in developing international standards for marine energy and is creating a global network of test centres across the Americas, Asia, Australasia and Europe
  • Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation has successfully delivered the world’s first offshore tidal array in the Shetland Islands.
  • And Atlantis’ Meygen commercial-scale tidal project off Caithness is among those bringing new opportunities to industry and communities where jobs are needed most – including areas which used to depend on North Sea oil and gas.
  • In Orkney, contractors Bryan Rendall Electrical Ltd, Craigie Engineering and Heddle Construction Ltd have now moved from providing electrical, mechanical or engineering support to the oil and gas industry into the marine energy sector.
  • And Orkney’s local fishing industry is now supporting companies testing at Orkney to deploy and maintain their devices.
Hugh McNeal
Hugh McNeal

Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive, RenewableUK, said: The UK is the global leader in wave and tidal energy. This is a cutting-edge industry creating much-needed jobs in Orkney, south Wales and south-west England.

“But other countries – such as China and Canada – are eyeing our innovative industry enviously, seeking to capitalise on the hard-won progress already made in British waters. We don’t want our groundwork to lead to their success. 

 “The UK must win the international ‘Ocean Energy Race’ so that this country can reap the economic benefits of marine energy

“It’s vital that the Government recognises that wave and tidal power is transforming coastal communities around the UK, and if we don’t build on our success those communities will miss out.

“Politicians from every party are standing up for marine energy, because they see the benefits to their area. Marine energy can become a key modern industrial sector.

“To make this happen, we’re urging Ministers to include wave and tidal power in their Industrial Strategy. We can deliver fresh energy infrastructure on a massive scale, building on Britain’s proud maritime tradition and creating a new clean-tech energy sector”.  

See also 24 Jan 2017

Scot-Govt. pledges £50m investment in 13 new low-carbon energy, heating and storage projects in new Scottish Energy Strategy


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