Marine energy has the potential to be at the heart of ambitious plans for Wales to become a nation powered by renewable energy sources, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has said.
Speaking at the Ocean Energy Conference in Dublin today, the minister outlined the success businesses have had enabling marine energy over the last year and the investment in the supply chain allowing this to happen.
“We recognise that the sector is in its infancy, so we have invested in 10 marine energy related projects to build capacity and expertise in Wales,” she said.
More than €71 million of European funding has been agreed, which will deliver over €117 million of investment in Wales.
Businesses to have benefitted include:
- Ledwood Engineering, Mainstay Marine and MarineSpace, businesses based in Pembrokeshire in West Wales, have all reaped the rewards from millions of pounds of investment benefitting their existing technical expertise within the marine and power sectors.
- Minesto have completed a project to enable the commercial roll-out of their Deep Green tidal stream technology at Holyhead Deep, off the west coast of Anglesey. The project designed, installed and tested a 500 kilowatt device. The next phase of the project has received an additional €14.9 million and will support the design of an eighty megawatt site development off the coast of Anglesey in tandem with designing a full-scale device of at least 1 megawatt.
- Swansea-based wave energy developer Marine Power Systems successfully concluded their year-long sea trials and testing this summer and their WaveSub quarter scale prototype achieved its critical milestones. They have also been awarded €13 million to design and manufacture a larger scale device.
Wales’ first Marine Plan and a new National Development Framework will also provide strategic planning policy for future sustainable use of natural resources – both on-shore and off-shore.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:
“We are determined for marine energy to be a key part of our plans for Wales to become a nation powered by renewable energy sources. EU funds have been crucial in supporting this.
We have set ambitious targets as we strive to become a greener Wales where resources are managed not for just today, but for the benefit of future generations.
This year we have accepted the UK Committee on Climate Change advice to increase the ambition of our decarbonisation targets in Wales, brought forward legislation next year to adopt a 95 per cent target for greenhouse gas reduction and are exploring how we can set a net zero target in the future.
Marine energy and offshore wind are essential parts of these targets, as we look to harness our natural resources to achieve long term benefits for everyone in Wales.”
The minister also urged the UK government to invest in marine and renewable energy in Wales.
The minister added:
“We have invested to support marine energy and we need the UK government to follow suit. The recent announcements on the Contracts for Difference auction show how it has driven down costs for offshore wind. The success of this mechanism must be extended to other marine technologies.
Offshore wind has shown it can compete at or below the market rate, so the UK government should open the support for marine and other new technologies to drive down the costs and secure a new industry to the UK.”