Marine Renewable Energy: The development of the blue economy can contribute to a green recovery based on a strong, healthy and just society that exists within Wales’ environmental limits.

On June 23 Marine Energy Wales (MEW) were delighted to welcome the First Minister, Mark Drakeford and Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths to the Consenting Strategic Advisory Group meeting, of which MEW is the secretariat. This group brings the marine energy industry, environmental NGOs, the regulator, Natural Resources Wales, and Welsh Government together to collaborate on opportunities to improve consenting for wave and tidal stream projects in Wales.

The session attended by the Ministers was dedicated to setting out the current marine research agenda for Wales followed by a discussion on the evidence needs for the marine renewable energy sector. Representatives from research institutes and other industries attended to feed in to a wider conversation on the marine evidence research available and offer insight in to the transferability of data across sectors that could support emerging marine renewable technologies.

This was a significant opportunity for the key stakeholders in Wales to discuss the consenting matters with Ministers directly and to identify strategic areas for collaboration. It was made clear that we need to make maximum use of available data to support project in Wales. There was encouragement for progression to get marine devices in the water to enable the gathering of relevant, much needed project level evidence to reduce the environmental uncertainty currently faced. However, it was also made clear that whilst these deployments seek to achieve a sustainable marine economy for Wales, the sector must be mindful of the need to balance the nature and climate emergencies faced.

Supporting and progressing marine renewable energy is a key priority for Welsh Government and we are proud as MEW to be playing a part in the blue economy’s contribution to a green recovery. MEW looks forward to continuing to support and engage with the Welsh Government; to develop the marine energy sector further in Wales.