A number of marine energy industry leaders and British politicians gathered Thursday to call on the country’s government to include wave and tidal power in the upcoming Industrial Strategy.
The marine energy industry has found its home in the United Kingdom, with a new report from wind and marine energy trade body RenewableUK publishing a report on the sector this week which highlights the success of the industry in “local economic clusters of the UK including Cornwall, the Solent and Isle of Wight, Scottish Highlands and Islands, and Wales.” The authors of the report describe “UK marine energy” as “a modern UK success story and a natural growth area for Britain.” The UK is home to 50% of Europe’s tidal energy and 35% of its wave energy, and has tremendous resources to continue to develop and lead the marine energy industry, with nearly £450 million already invested through the UK supply chain.
The report was released at the marine power industry’s biggest annual gathering in the UK, RenewableUK’s Wave and Tidal Energy Conference being held in London, which is attended by politicians and energy leaders from around the country. And to a one, they have all called on the UK Government to support the marine energy industry’s role in the country’s Industrial Strategy.
RenewableUK highlighted marine energy companies from across the country in a series of posts on its website yesterday, representing all the regions that are currently hotbeds for marine energy development: Scotland, Sthe Solent and the Isle of Wight, Wales, and the South West.
“The UK is the global leader in wave and tidal energy,” said Hugh McNeal, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive. “This is a cutting-edge industry creating much-needed jobs in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight, Swansea and Orkney. It will grow worldwide with opportunities to export our technology across the globe — from the US to Taiwan, and right across Europe to South East Asia.”
“But other countries, such as China and Canada, are eyeing our innovative industry enviously, seeking to capitalise on the hard-won progress already made in British waters. We don’t want our groundwork to lead to their success. The UK must win the international Ocean Energy Race so that this country can reap the economic benefits of marine energy.”
The Conference made a show of demonstrating the number of politicians and marine energy leaders advocating for the UK to include marine energy in its Industrial Strategy. “Politicians from every party are standing up for marine energy, because they see the benefits to their area,” McNeal continued. “Marine energy can become a key modern industrial sector. To make this happen, we’re urging Ministers to include wave and tidal power in their Industrial Strategy.”
A number of MPs from around the UK — especially in locales where marine energy development is flourishing and providing jobs and millions in investments — spoke at the Conference.
“Scotland’s wave and tidal sectors are already having a positive impact on the Scottish economy, bringing innovation, inward investment and skilled jobs,” said Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP. “I very much hope that the UK Government takes the opportunity to clarify its commitment to renewables in its final industrial strategy.
“The UK Government must put an end to uncertainty: we need ‘sector deals’ for our wind and marine energy industries to provide vital routes to market and to allow new technologies to continue to achieve economies of scale through application of the technology in the field.”
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