The UK Crown Estate, which manages the country’s seabed, has announced new agreements for six new wave and tidal-current demonstration zones and five new wave and tidal-current sites.
The six new demonstration zones will for the first time allow locally-based organisations to manage and sub-let parts of the seabed to a variety of wave and tidal stream developers, while the five active sites will have the potential to deliver between 10 and 30 MW per project.
“By providing these additional seabed rights we are pleased to be enabling further technology development and commercialisation, which will be critical if the UK is to unlock its significant natural resources for wave and tidal current energy,” said Rob Hastings, Director of Energy and Infrastructure. “This innovative approach to leasing the seabed sees us responding to market demand and introducing managed demonstration zones to give other organisations the opportunity to lend tangible support in their local areas.”
The 11 locations are spread across the whole of the UK, with three sites located off the coast of England, four off the coast of Scotland, one in Northern Ireland, and another three off the coast of Wales. Each of the locations is specifically chosen for their suitability for test and demonstration activities, and with this current round complete, the Crown Estate will direct their attention to future sites.
Greg Barker, Minister for Energy and Climate Change said:
Today’s announcement is a great step for the development of wave and tidal stream industries. Wave and tidal stream are growing green, clean energy sources which have the potential to sustain thousands of jobs in a sector worth, from exports alone, a possible £4 billion per annum by 2050.
The UK is already a world leader in wave and tidal stream energy. The Coalition Government has huge ambitions for this sector. Today’s news will help the UK ensure these sectors reach their full potential in our country’s future energy mix.
Renewable UK, the trade association which represents the wind and marine energy industries, also commented on the news. RenewableUK Wave and Tidal Development Manager Dee Nunn said:
This announcement by The Crown Estate is being hailed within the sector as another major step forward. It marks the beginning of a significant expansion of the UK’s capacity to harness our excellent wave and tidal energy resources, with the seabed rights agreed for 6 new demonstration zones and 5 project sites.
The range of sites shows that many parts of the UK will benefit from this growth of wave and tidal power, from Cornwall to Orkney. In the longer term, these technologies have the potential to supply as much as 20% of the UK’s electricity needs, in a market which could be worth up to £800 million to this country by 2035.