Wave and Tidal Stream energy – time for long term support

Today, over 300 of the senior industry, investor and policy figures in the global wave and tidal energy sector gathered in the QEII Centre in Westminster to hear a rallying call and message of optimism for this major energy market of the future.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy Lord Truscott and Ben Bradshaw MP, Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare were unanimous in their support for wave and tidal stream energy technologies, recognising their long term potential in both future energy supplies and economic development in the UK.

Despite key political support, BWEA is concerned that this rhetoric is not yet being backed up by long term policy support. Today’s welcome publication of the Marine Bill White Paper provides the overarching framework for planning and consenting marine renewable energy projects. However, this needs to be backed up by new financial support mechanisms, if the UK is to retain its current global lead.

The Energy White Paper, due shortly, is a key opportunity to put in place this support. BWEA is calling for Government to get the incentives right for wave and tidal energy projects in its reform of the Renewables Obligation. In addition, capital support from the Environmental Transformation Fund will be required, in the order of £100 million, to get early projects into the water. Decisions on the ETF will be made in this summer’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Today’s conference gave a very clear message of warning that unless this opportunity to take action is seized firmly, an industry on the same scale as wind power in Denmark which employs over 20,000 people, could be lost to the UK. The future value of this market has been put at as much as £4.2 billion annually to the UK economy by 2050 by the Carbon Trust, making the sums involved an excellent investment for UK plc.

As BWEA CEO Maria McCaffery commented:

“Today we’ve been giving the message to Ministers that the reform of the Renewables Obligation is a golden opportunity to secure this long term low-carbon industry for the UK. We believe they’re listening and we hope they will continue to do so. Indeed, they must if the Government’s own climate change goals and renewable energy targets are to become a reality.”

Further briefings are available – contact
Dr Gordon Edge, Director of Economics and Markets, BWEA on 07816 830 180 and Alison Hill, Head of Communications, BWEA on 07956 859 749
British Wind Energy Association
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
wind energy, renewable energy, wind turbine, wind power, wind farm, rotorblade, onshore, offshore

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