More funds for developing wave and tidal power technology in Scotland

August 30th, 2012 by RenewableUK

RenewableUK, the trade and professional body representing the wind, wave and tidal energy industries, welcomed the announcement on the 29 August 2012 by the Scottish Government that it will provide nearly £8 million to help fund the testing of five prototype marine energy devices.

The second round of WATERS funding, worth £7.9 million, will be split among five marine energy developers as part of the Scottish Government’s programme to accelerate the development of an industry which it says could be worth up to £4 billion by 2020.

It follows the announcement on 28 August 2012 that two wave developers (Pelamis Wave Power and Aquamarine Power) and two tidal developers (MeyGen and ScottishPower Renewables) will compete for the prestigious £10 million Saltire Prize.

This prize will be awarded by the Scottish Government to the marine energy team that generates the most electricity over a continuous two-year period from the power of the sea, above a minimum target of 100 gigawatt hours.

On the same day, a further £13 million of marine energy funding was announced by an agency set up by the UK Government, the Technology Strategy Board, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise.

David Krohn, RenewableUK’s Wave and Tidal Development manager, said “the WATERS 2 funding helps to ensure that the UK retains its lead in technology development, proving concepts in real sea conditions and providing devices with a route to market.”

“Along with the award from the Technology Strategy Board, the WATERS 2 funding drives research and development and contributes towards the momentum the industry needs to vault the innovation gap.”

“We now have a coherent and coordinated funding package supporting the development of the industry up to the installation of pre-commercial arrays – but it’s vital that a pathway is mapped beyond this to move towards true commerciality,” he said.

“The Green Investment Bank and the Renewable Energy Investment Fund should be providing the debt finance the industry needs if it’s to attain challenging targets such as the one set by the Saltire Prize,” David Krohn said.

Wave and tidal energy has attracted widespread support in recent years, as it has the potential to generate 20% of the UK’s electricity needs, creating 10,000 jobs according to the Carbon Trust.

The British Government announced in 2011 that £20 million of funding would be made available to encourage the deployment of multiple marine devices in an array formation, setting up the Marine Energy Array Demonstrator (MEAD) scheme. The Scottish Government unveiled an £18 million Marine Array Commercialisation Fund (MCRF) in May 2012.

The Scottish Government also announced that wave and tidal energy would be among the technologies benefitting from a £103 Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) set up in March.

The Green Investment Bank announced by the British Government in 2010 will provide debt financing for some renewables on a commercial basis. The GIB has not identified marine energy as a priority sector, but RenewableUK is urging it to find a way to support the development of wave and tidal technology.

 

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