The investment is from the Departments for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and is part of a £19.5 million fund that was earmarked for investment in marine energy projects in the region when South West England was designated the UK’s first Low Carbon Economic Area last year.
The funding has been secured by the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency).
The infrastructure project includes a new bridge, construction of a new road, flood protection works and restoration of harbour walls on North Quay at Hayle, including the creation of a promenade along its length.
These engineering works will enable access to the site of a proposed marine renewable business park next to the old power station behind sand dunes at Hayle Towans, and is expected to support 190 jobs.
It will complement the South West RDA’s £42 million Wave Hub project, which is creating the world’s largest test site for marine energy devices 10 miles off the north coast of Cornwall. Wave Hub’s subsea electrical cable will come ashore at Hayle, where it will connect to the National Grid via a new electricity sub-station being built next to the site of the proposed business park.
Business Minister Ian Lucas said: “The UK has huge potential to lead in marine energy – not just the natural resources but the industrial and technology base and the R&D and skilled workforce. The grant we’re announcing today is part of the Government’s investment in the South West as a leading area for marine renewable energy.”
Claire Gibson, director of sustainable resources at the South West RDA, said: “This is another significant step in establishing the South West as a leader in marine renewables. With Wave Hub now under construction, the business park will be an important facility that will support the nascent marine renewables industry. We’ve worked extremely hard behind the scenes to make the case to Government for this investment so we are delighted by today’s announcement.”
The £5 million announced by Government depends on a similar investment being made by Cornwall Council and additional support from the ERDF Convergence Programme, which has a designated fund to support the creation of high quality workspace in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
It is anticipated that Council financial support will be confirmed at the May Cabinet meeting, and that the whole funding package will be finalised in June.
Carolyn Rule, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for economy and regeneration said. “Hayle is a priority area for regeneration which can help support delivery of our economic vision for the county. Investment towards the realisation of a marine renewables business park will help ensure that Hayle maximises the economic benefits of the Wave Hub and its potential to act as a catalyst for new skills and jobs in the low carbon economy.”
Local Cornwall Councillor John Pollard added: “This is very exciting and excellent news for the town. Improvements to the infrastructure are vital for job creation and Council officers are working very hard to ensure that this injection of funds will be supported by further investment in order to make a real difference for the people of Hayle.”
The proposed marine renewables business park would capitalise on Hayle’s status as the home of Wave Hub by attracting related industries to the area and acting as a focus for a cluster of businesses based around marine energy.
This could include activity such as marine renewables operations planning, maintenance and inspections, marine and environmental research, sub-sea and diver operations support and an education centre.
Earlier this month BIS and DECC confirmed a £4 million investment as part of the South West Low Carbon Economic Area initiative in the Plymouth Science and Innovation Programme (PSIP), a partnership led by the South West RDA, University of Plymouth and Plymouth City Council.
This funding will enable a new £18 million marine building on the University of Plymouth’s city campus to be built, housing state-of-the-art research facilities including new wave tank testing equipment that will be unique in the UK. The funding has been matched by the South West RDA and the University of Plymouth.
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