On the 25th of January, ahead of our Annual Conference, Marine Energy Wales hosted a joint Political Showcase event for Marine Energy in Wales with the Marine Energy Council.
During this event nearly 40 participants from Labour, Conservative and Plaid Cymru political parties attended; from Welsh Members of Parliament, Members of the Senedd, candidates for the Senedd election and a Member of the House of Lords. Sue Barr of the Marine Energy Council chaired the event with Jess Hooper, MEW Programme Manager introducing the current activity of our members, the long-term opportunities of our sector and the wider economic and environmental benefits it will bring to Wales and the wider UK.
Our message focused on how tidal stream and wave energy can play a significant role in the Green Recovery; in providing predictable sources for a diverse energy mix, boosting UK manufacturing and jobs in coastal communities, contributing practical, local action against climate change and creating major export opportunities of technologies and Welsh expertise. This event focused on what political action is needed to enable this and progress the sector. The 2020’s can be the decade for delivering Marine Energy and it’s supply chain in the UK and Wales.
As well as the opportunities of the sector, we outlined the key development issues and barriers for progress. Thank you to Miriam Noonan from ORE Catapult for presenting on infrastructure and supply chain needs, to David Jones from Blue Gem Wind on highlighting the synergies between wave and tidal and floating offshore wind, to Dr Kate Smith from Nova Innovation for outlining consenting and evidence barriers and solutions and Amrik Bal from the MEC for presenting on the UK policy support opportunities.
The event concluded with the key industry asks outlined in our manifesto briefing and where UK Government and Welsh Government focus must lie in order to further the successes achieved so far. We encouraged MPs to join the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Marine Energy and the Celtic Sea to ensure strong Welsh representation and for consideration of a Cross-Party Group for Emerging Offshore Energy at the Senedd. This, alongside encouraging strong representation for the sector at COP26; seeking to ensure we can turn Welsh commitments in to action and make the most of this timely opportunity. Our homegrown diverse marine energies can play a key role in a diverse energy mix of the future and we must seize this opportunity to showcase Wales’ activities, promise and action to deliver net zero on COP26’s world stage.
With the upcoming Senedd election in May and COP26 in November, this will be a key year for political support for our emerging offshore energy sector and we look forward to continued political engagement activities, building relationships and furthering cross-party support for the sector whilst pushing for action on our asks, on behalf of our MEW members.