Welsh Government is strongly committed to ‘unlocking the energy in our seas’



€100.4 million EU structural funds prioritised for marine energy in Wales

Consenting Guidance


To assist with the application process for marine licences



Huge resource potential in Wales with up to 6.2GW of estimated generating capacity


The Welsh Government is strongly committed to unlocking the energy potential from Welsh waters and continues to bring together expertise across government, industry and academia to focus on the delivery of marine energy projects in Welsh waters.  Wales has the potential to become a net exporter of electricity through careful and focussed use of its renewable energy resources.

Welsh Government wants to increase the contribution of electricity generation from marine energy resources quickly and recognises that different technologies are at different stages of maturity, and will require different levels of support. Welsh Government supports growth in all marine energy sectors: tidal stream, tidal range and wave. Within Wales, they recognise that it may take time for these technologies to be deployed at commercial scales; therefore, they are committed to providing support to help the sector grow by demonstrating their potential and developing commercial operations.

Welsh Government recently published its ‘Taking Wales Forward’ statement which highlighted the opportunities to develop renewable energy, specifically detailing tidal lagoons and community energy as areas of focus.

Welsh Government is strongly committed to ‘unlocking the energy in our seas’. Welsh Government has stated strong policy support for the marine renewable sector with an aim of capturing at least 10% (8 kWh/d/p) of the potential tidal stream and wave energy off the Welsh coastline by 2025. Welsh Government believe that Wales has the potential to be a world-leader in the marine energy market – as a significant generator and, just as importantly, as an exporter of marine energy knowledge, technologies and services.


Well-Being Of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

Wales was one of the first countries globally to enshrine sustainability into statute, and its Future Generations (Wales) Act focusses on delivering seven well-being goals to improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales:

  • A globally responsible Wales
  • A prosperous Wales
  • A resilient Wales
  • A healthier Wales
  • A more equal Wales
  • A Wales of cohesive communities
  • A Wales of cohesive communities

The Act aims to make the public bodies listed think more about the long-term, work better with people, communities and each other. The aim is to look to prevent problems and take a more joined-up approach, in order to tackle issues such as climate change, poverty, health inequalities and jobs and growth. These public bodies include Natural Resources Wales, Local Authorities and National Park Authorities.

Welsh National Marine Plan

The Welsh National Marine Plan is being developed to provide clarity and optimise opportunities for the sustainable development of Welsh seas. The purpose of the Plan is to manage marine activities in a sustainable way, taking into account; economic, social and environmental priorities.

The marine planning portal for Wales allows anyone to view maps online showing the distribution of human activities and natural resources in Welsh seas. The portal is an interactive planning tool that is intended to support the marine planning process by:

  • Raising awareness and understanding of the marine data that is readily available for Welsh seas
  • Providing an understanding of the marine planning evidence base currently available
  • Providing interested parties with the opportunity to comment on the evidence base and the need or availability of further spatial evidence

As part of the marine planning process, it will be important for users to access and understand the marine evidence that will be used to inform the development of the Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP). The Wales Marine Planning Portal can be viewed here.

Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework (MRESF)

The Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework (MRESF) project has investigated the potential marine renewable energy resource of Welsh Territorial Waters (TWs) and considered potential scenarios for the sustainable development of that resource primarily as an aid to policy development and also an indicator of resource for potential developers.

The project has been undertaken by RPS Group in three stages, starting in 2007 with Stage 1, which was focused on the initial literature reviews, data gathering, stakeholder engagement and GIS mapping. Stage 2 was conducted primarily in 2009-2010 and involved a number of discrete reports, each aimed at increasing the knowledge base for a number of key data gaps in Welsh TWs identified as part of Stage 1. Stage 3 has drawn on the findings of Stages 1 and 2 to develop the Framework.

The analysis and GIS mapping has been undertaken in five steps, designed to consider and apply a range of siting criteria for marine renewable energy devices within Welsh TWs. As a component of this, the GIS also provides spatial mapping of existing socio-economic uses and environmental interests and the potential constraint on consent associated with such. These steps have been termed the ‘Approach to Sustainable Development’ with an overall aim of enabling the potential energy resource available in areas of different levels of constraint to be assessed to provide an evidence base for determining the sustainability of different levels of wave and tidal stream power generation from Welsh TWs.

The MRESF will be an essential management tool for the sustainable development of wave and tidal energy in Wales. The Approach to Sustainable Development Report presents the final outputs of the MRESF.  To download the all the reports associated with this project click here or visit our publications page.

Wales’ significant wave and tidal stream opportunities can be demonstrated to developers using the MRESF.  Previous MRESF demos, follow up support and access to the GIS system on behalf of the energy policy team has created a number of follow on projects.  To access the MRESF, please contact us.


“I am determined that within our responsibilities we will do all that we can. The actions in Energy Wales show how we will act to make it happen – by providing leadership and a stable framework; by maximising the benefits of all energy development and energy efficiency; and by positioning Wales at the forefront of harnessing energy from the sea and the move to smart living. Business is essential to our energy and our economic future. We therefore aim to build on Wales’ reputation – working in partnership with industry – to ensure that we are not only ‘open for business,’ but are once again seen as a global centre for energy”

The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales. In Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition