South West set to benefit from renewable marine energy

The marine renewables sector will generate more than 5,750 new jobs and inject an estimated £4.8bn into the South West economy from 2015 onwards, according to a new report.

The ORRAD (Offshore Renewables Resource and Development – South West Economic Impact Assessment) report, commissioned by the South West RDA, found that this relatively new sector will be important to the economic future of the region.

A research report in October showed that the South West is capable of generating 9,220MW of electricity from various marine sources, enough power for more than double the current domestic electricity needs of the whole of the South West.

Once installation of the technology takes place, most of the work will be in ongoing operations and maintenance, with more than 5,000 people involved by 2030. The industry will represent around 0.20 per cent of the future total employment in the South West, making it one of the most important future employers, alongside more mature sectors such as aerospace (0.79 per cent).

The £4.8bn boost to the economy will come predominantly from offshore wind technology being deployed, but wave and tidal technologies also make substantial contributions.

Claire Gibson, director of sustainable resources at the South West RDA said: ’The findings of the ORRAD report highlight the significance of the marine renewables sector to the future of the region – not just through environmentally friendly electricity production, but also to the future employment and economic growth of the South West.’