Brussels, 03 Aug 2004
The UK's Department of Trade and Industry has announced an investment in wave and tidal power technologies of 50 million GBP (75 million euro). The funding will be used to support of marine energy projects.
The launch of the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund to develop energy supplies through wave and tidal power and thus to help tackle climate change follows the publication of a report, which states that marine energy could generate ten per cent of Scotland's electricity by 2020.
At the launch of the funding, UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt said: 'The UK's wave and tidal flows are the greatest in Europe and I want to ensure we harness these immense natural resources to generate power for the UK. Renewable energy - through wind, wave and other sources - plays a vital part in our fight against climate change, and we are committed to further developing renewable energy to play an increasing role in the UK's energy mix.'
'This announcement reflects that vision and puts us firmly on the path to becoming the world leader in renewable energy,' she added.
Tom Delay, chief executive of the government's Carbon Trust, welcomed the investment as 'a significant boost to the UK marine sector. He added: 'The next step is to make the UK a global centre of excellence and we look forward to working with the government and the Scottish Executive to make this a reality.'
Most of the investment will be in Scotland, which has some of the most powerful tidal currents in the world, particularly around the islands of Shetland and Orkney, as well as the best expertise on the subject. Scotland is already at the vanguard of efforts to establish commercial wave power generators, having launched the first commercial scale device in operation in the world.
The Carbon Trust, which has singled out marine energy as the next priority for renewable energy investment, believes that the UK could eventually host a quarter of the world's wave and tidal power industries. In addition, a study by the Forum for Renewable Energy Development states that Scotland should be leading the world in the research, development and certification of marine energy devices.
Dr Dan Barlow of Friends of the Earth Scotland said 'Harnessing the free power around our coastline could make a significant contribution to reducing emissions and help create thousands of jobs in the process. It is right that government support comes now if wave power is ever to fulfil its potential.'
The new Marine Research Development Fund supplements help already given to other emerging technologies in the field of renewable energy including wind, solar and biomass. The aim is to make sure the UK is less dependent on wind power to meet its target of producing ten per cent of electricity from renewable sources within a decade.