More cash is needed to help commercialise wave and tidal power or jobs and expertise or other country’s could steal Scotland’s lead in the fledgling industry, according to a report published today.
It says only £38million of some £120million needed for the development of technology has been spent by the UK and Scottish governments.
RenewableUK, which released the report at its Wave and Tidal Conference in Edinburgh, called on both governments to inject the additional £80million-plus it says is needed.
“While the £3billion Green Investment Bank provides a potential source for some of this, it is currently not opened up for the funding of early-stage marine energy development,” said a spokesman for RenewableUK.
Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK, said: “An overly-cautious approach could allow other countries to steal the Scotland’s lead, so it’s vital that the Scottish and UK governments build on the good work they’ve already done by supporting the development of these industries, to ensure that we can retain our leading position globally.”
The report says every pound of public sector investment would unlock £6 of private investment and that marine energy could provide 20% of UK electricity consumption.
The industry predicts that the sector will be worth £3.7billion to the UK by 2020, creating 10,000 jobs.
While the UK currently has 7.6megawatt of wave and tidal energy installed – more than double that of the previous year at 3.4megawatts – the UK Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap sets a target of 300megawatts by 2020, requiring investment of £1.5billion.
The report also called on the UK Government to provide greater assurance on the renewable energy funding regime beyond 2017, when a current system of funding ends.
David Krohn, RenewableUK’s wave and tidal development manager, said: “One step the government could take is to allow the Green Investment Bank to support wave and tidal projects at an early stage. It’s frustrating that Ministers have not yet identified marine energy as a priority sector for the Green Investment Bank.”