Wave Hub Ltd has welcomed today’s announcement by the Welsh Government of the award of £324,000 to enable a major feasibility study into the Pembrokeshire wave energy demonstration zone.
The Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, announced the funding from European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government, at the inaugural Marine Energy Wales conference in Swansea.
Wave Hub Ltd is the operating company for Wave Hub, the existing wave energy test site off the north Cornwall coast, and the leaseholder for the Pembrokeshire demonstration zone, the largest wave energy seabed lease in the world. The zone is located between 13-21kms off the South Pembrokeshire coast near the Milford Haven Waterway and has the potential to support the demonstration of multiple wave energy arrays with a generating capacity of up to 30MW each.
Claire Gibson, Wave Hub Ltd’s Managing Director, said, “Without the Welsh Government’s commitment to marine energy, our plans to develop this site would have stalled so we are extremely grateful for their support. This funding will now enable us to develop an outline design for the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone, begin the environmental assessment process, and engage with industry and local stakeholders to ensure our plans for the site are fit for purpose and take into account any local concerns.”
Welsh Government Economy Secretary, Ken Skates said: “The marine sector presents a very real and exciting opportunity for the Welsh economy and developers from around the world are showing an active interest in developing projects in Welsh waters. They recognise that Wales has one of the best marine energy resources and support structures to be found anywhere and the demonstrator zones will play a key role in attracting development and investment.
“The funding boost announced today also coincides with the latest report on the sector in Wales that has seen direct investment in marine energy in Wales increase from £45.5m in 2015 to £68.3m in 2017.
“To date €100m of EU funding has been secured to develop marine energy in Wales and increase the number of wave and tidal energy devices being tested in Welsh waters.
“This growing sector is already supporting supply chain diversity, creating low carbon jobs closer to home and playing a key role in creating sustainable regional economies in Pembrokeshire and Anglesey that are based on developing their own prioritised and specialised sectors.”
Dr Gareth Stockman, Managing Director, Marine Power Systems Ltd also welcomed the announcement, “Marine Power Systems is delighted that the Welsh Government is investing in the new Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone. The dedicated wave energy area, to be positioned on the doorstep of MPS headquarters, is an ideal location for deployment of future commercial WaveSub arrays. The demonstration zone will undoubtedly attract interest and investment in the region, firmly putting Wales on the map as a global leader in wave energy.”
Project Director of Marine Energy Wales, David Jones, said, “Wave Hub’s extensive experience in developing and operating test sites will be of huge benefit in progressing the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone and is another step forward for the sector in Wales. We are looking forward to continuing our collaborative approach with them to develop marine energy in Wales.”
The feasibility study is due to start at the end of April and the findings will be known early in 2018.