The Minister made the commitment during the first meeting of the UK Marine Energy Programme Board at the University of Exeter today (January 31). The Programme aims to bring together Government and the private sector to accelerate the development of the marine renewables sector in the UK by removing hurdles to its commercialisation.
Wave Hub General Manager Guy Lavender, who attended today’s meeting said: “The Minister is clearly committed to realising the potential for the marine energy sector and said it is one of his priorities. He also recognises the enormous strides we have made to establish the South West as a global centre of expertise for marine renewables, which is why he wants to see a marine energy park here.
“Our next step is to work with the industry and others in the region to flesh out the marine energy park concept, and the Minister has pledged the support of his department to help us do that. The park itself could be a combination of onshore and offshore assets, and if you look at the assets we already have you can see the why we have such a compelling case to locate it in the South West.”
In recent years the South West region, through the support of the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency), has invested significantly in developing its marine renewables offer including the £42 million Wave Hub project, which has created the world’s largest grid-connected test site for wave energy devices.
The region also boasts the Peninsula Research Institute for Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE), which was set up by the universities of Exeter and Plymouth to accelerate growth in the marine renewable energy industry by addressing some of the most critical challenges it faces.
PRIMaRE includes a team of international researchers and world-class facilities, including a new tank testing facility under construction at the University of Plymouth that will be unique in the UK.
And in Hayle in Cornwall some £15 million is being invested – including £5 million from the UK Government – in new roads and infrastructure for the development of a marine renewables business park at the point where Wave Hub is connected to the mainland. Work will start in the coming weeks.
Download full press release