The UK’s first marine energy park will be established in south-west England in a bid to speed up the progress of marine power development.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the South West Marine Energy Park will stretch from Bristol through to Cornwall and as far as the Isles of Scilly. It will create a collaborative partnership in the region between national and local government, local enterprise partnerships, the universities of Plymouth and Exeter and industry — including a testing facility in Cornwall for wave energy devices known as Wave Hub.
Climate change minister Greg Barker said: ‘This is a real milestone for the marine industry and for the south-west region in securing its place in renewables history as the first official marine energy park. The south west can build on its existing unique mix of renewable energy resource and home-grown academic, technical and industrial expertise.
‘Marine power has huge potential in the UK, not just in contributing to a greener electricity supply and cutting emissions but in supporting thousands of jobs in a sector worth a possible £15bn to the economy to 2050.’
During his visit, the minister launched the South West Marine Energy Park Prospectus, which outlines how the region’s public and private sector will work together with the government and other key bodies such as the Crown Estate.
The DECC believes that energy from the waves or tides has the potential to generate up to 27GW of power in the UK by 2050, which is equivalent to the power generated from eight coal-fired power stations, as well as helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The work to develop the South West Marine Energy Park has been commissioned by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council. The work was undertaken by Regen SW.
Johnny Gowdy, programme director at Regen SW, said: ‘The launch of the South West Marine Energy Park is a recognition of the great resources, research facilities and businesses we have in the region. It also puts the south west in a position to attract future investment and to be at the forefront of the new global marine energy industry.’