240 experts and business leaders joined Marine Energy Wales for their annual conference to hear insights into the significant progress being made in Wales.
Held in the Liberty Stadium, the conference was the inaugural Marine Energy Wales event since its launch at the end of 2016, and built on 7 successful years of Marine Energy Pembrokeshire Industry Seminars. Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure delivered a supportive and powerful keynote address which outlined not only the progress made to date but also the huge future potential for Wales.
During his address Mr Skates AM launched Marine Energy Wales’ new report which highlights the economic benefits of the marine energy industry in Wales, and he also announced funding for Wave Hub Ltd to enable a major feasibility study into the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone.
Byron Davies, MP for Gower and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons, provided the opening address of the day by highlighting the importance of the Swansea Bay City Deal and congratulated Welsh-based developers on the huge amount of progress made in the last 12 months.
In total 240 people attended the conference representing 130 global organisations. Of these 20% were technology developers and 39% were supply chain companies. 3% of the audience were AMs and MPs, demonstrating the political interest and sector support in Wales.
The programme featured dedicated panels to the wave, tidal stream and tidal range industries in Wales as well as a focus on supply chain, clusters and innovation.
The conference was preceded by a marine energy networking dinner which attracted over 110 leaders in the sector and also a tour of Tidal Lagoon Power’s Swansea Bay site.
Graham Hillier, Managing Director of Development Services for Tidal Lagoon Power, said, “It’s a massively important event. The attendance gives you the sense that Wales really is on the verge of something big here. As the developer behind Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay and a fleet of full scale lagoons to follow on, this event is really important for us. It brings all the key parties together and it shows that we can work together to deliver something big for Wales.”
Summing up the event, Louise Rigby Williams, Project Manager of Marine Energy Wales commented, “It has been an important year for the development of the marine energy industry here in Wales, and our conference has showcased the huge progress that has been made in the tidal stream, wave and tidal range sectors across the country. The attendance levels over the 2 days in Swansea are a testament to Wales’ potential and importance for the industry moving forward. Wales could soon lead the world as a significant generator of marine energy and, just as importantly, as an exporter of knowledge, technologies and services.”
Presentations and videos from the day can be found on the Marine Energy Wales website here – www.marineenergywales.co.uk/about/annual-conference