Wave and tidal developers were invited yesterday to bid for £22million of new UK Government funding aimed at speeding up the development of marine energy.
The move follows demand from industry for extra support for the commercial development of generating power from wave and tidal sources. Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt said: “Clean, green renewable energy is a central component of our response to climate change and ensuring future energy supplies.
“The scope for wave and tidal energy around the UK’s shores is massive and we’re working closely with developers in the UK to bring on the necessary technologies.”
Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has urged Scottish marine energy companies to bid for the new UK Government funding. He said: “Wave and tidal energy are potentially Scotland’s greatest natural resources as we concentrate on tackling the twin challenges of energy supply and climate change, and Scotland already has real expertise in this field.
“The issue has been that it can be expensive to build a prototype device and get it to the stage of development where it will qualify for existing funding schemes aimed at more mature projects. This scheme will help bridge that funding gap and I believe Scottish companies are uniquely well placed to benefit from it.”
However, Liberal Democrat business spokesman Lord Thurso last night denounced the new renewables fund as “nowhere near enough”.
The MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross said any investment was welcome “but I would like to see a far greater commitment from the government”.
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, which will be delivering the new funds, said: “Wave and tidal power is a fantastic resource for the UK that could provide up to 20% of our current electricity demand and cut carbon dioxide by tens of millions of tonnes.
“There are many exciting technologies in development. However, for these to reach commercial viability we need to focus on cost reduction and make mass deployment a reality. The targeted support provided by the Marine Renewables Proving Fund is a much needed boost to the UK’s clean tech revolution and we are delighted to be playing a key role in its delivery.”
The Carbon Trust has estimated wave power could generate revenues of £2billion a year for the UK by 2050 and create up to 16,000 jobs.