Last week’s Swansea Bay City Deal announcement is welcomed by Pembroke Dock Marine’s partners, the Port of Milford Haven, Marine Energy Wales, ORE Catapult, and Wave Hub Limited, and is also supported by Pembrokeshire County Council. It secures £60m for Pembrokeshire with £28m from Swansea Bay City Deal and the remainder part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and private sector investment. The funding will be used to establish a world-class marine energy and engineering centre of excellence for the design, test, build and deployment of marine energy devices, as well as having application across other blue and green industries. From its home on the Milford Haven Waterway, Pembroke Dock Marine will bring together access to energy source, a high-skill supply chain and a new array of services and spaces that will help developers drive down the cost of marine sourced energy through maximised innovation and operational efficiency.
The four partners will each deliver a different project element. Marine Energy Wales will create pre-consented Marine Energy Test Areas (META) within the Waterway for testing component and scale devices. The Port of Milford Haven will deliver modernised port facilities to support the industrial growth. ORE Catapult will deliver a Marine Energy and Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) to drive research and innovation, and Wave Hub Ltd will deliver the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone (PDZ) a consented and grid connected offshore test site.
Pembroke Dock Marine’s immediate focus will be the support the growth of the floating wind, wave and tidal technologies exploring opportunities off the Welsh coastline. With net zero targets in sight and the potential to drive a new export industry, Pembroke Dock Marine will add value to the UK economic and environmental goals. It will position the region to capture a significant share of this global market.
Jess Hooper, Marine Energy Programme Manager for Marine Energy Wales, said “META is well on its way to becoming Wales’ national test centre and will ultimately consist of a series of eight pre-consented, non-grid connected test areas in the Milford Haven Waterway. With Phase 1 test areas already providing a haven for marine energy, META enables marine renewable energy device developers to deploy, de-risk and develop from their components to their devices in a relatively sheltered yet still representative ocean environment. As part of the broader PDM project, META looks forward to contributing to the blue economy opportunities this exciting project brings to Pembrokeshire and the continued development of Pembrokeshire as a world class centre for marine energy.”
Dr Stephen Wyatt, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Research & Innovation Director, said “This approval is extremely welcome, enabling us to go full steam ahead with the work of our Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence and establish our longer term presence in the region. We are now formally engaging with our academic partners – the universities of Swansea, Cardiff, Bangor and Cardiff Metropolitan. The breadth and depth of their research activity perfectly complements the industrial sector expertise and market knowledge of ORE Catapult. Working with Welsh innovators and supply chain companies, MEECE will demonstrate and validate new products, technologies and processes in marine energy, providing ongoing innovation support to reduce costs and risks as these products mature towards commercialisation, something which, drawing on the Catapult’s existing expertise and those of our partners, MEECE is well-placed to provide.”
Steve Jermy, Executive Chair of Wave Hub Ltd said “This is a significant milestone in the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone project, which will catalyse the establishment of a Welsh centre for low carbon, offshore, energy production. We are excited to be working with our partners to develop strategically enabling infrastructure to accelerate the development of Welsh offshore renewable energy, to support future energy generating technologies and generate green electricity from the sea. Moving forward, we are very much looking forward to welcoming new staff, based in Pembroke Dock, into the Wave Hub project development team.”
Andy Jones, Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven, said “This is a landmark decision for Pembrokeshire, made possible by the Swansea Bay City Region and the European Regional Development Fund. Alongside a significant investment by the Port, the Swansea Bay City Deal will support the modernisation of our port infrastructure to ensure developers can operate with maximum efficiency allowing them to drive down the cost of energy and help reach net zero targets. We also recognise the value to other industries and the role this project will play in encouraging further collaborations and innovations within the region. We see this as a significant step forward and we look forward to working with developers as they explore the benefits of this new base. And, in turn, we welcome the positive impact this new and exciting industry will have on Pembrokeshire’s economy and employment opportunities.”
Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire Council, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has further heightened the importance of Pembroke Dock Marine, so the project’s approval is very welcome news for Pembrokeshire’s residents and businesses. Worth £73.5 million a year, Pembroke Dock Marine will also make our economy more resilient in future by transforming Pembrokeshire and the City Region as a whole into a global example of best practice for zero carbon, marine energy innovation. This project will place Pembrokeshire and the City Region at the heart of a growing global industry, helping further raise the region’s profile as a place to do business and invest in.”