Threat to UK’s lead in marine renewables

19 March 2004 – British companies are at the forefront of the development of wave and tidal energy technologies, according to a conference held in London this week. But the industry is worried that lack of practical support in the Government’s recent ‘Renewables Innovation Review’ will allow the UK’s dominant position to slip away.

Six companies presented their full-scale wave and tidal stream generators at the Renewable Power Association’s WATTS 2004. Four of those are British. Claire Durkin who heads the DTI’s Energy Innovation and Business Unit also addressed the conference, describing the Renewables Innovation Review published last month.

“Delegates were impressed with Government’s declared commitment to this sector,” said Philip Wolfe RPA’s Chief Executive, “but the detail of the Innovation Review just doesn’t back this up. Our member companies are pioneering a whole new industry with exciting developments every month. Meanwhile Government seems to think it can wait until the 2020’s before helping the market to emerge. That is the approach that lost us the wind power industry.”

The industry is pressing for market incentives for the implementation of marine energy projects in the UK, which enjoys some of the best wave and tide resource in the world. A separate meeting of RPA’s Ocean Energy Group yesterday considered a proposal to encourage these projects using an approach complementary with the Renewables Obligation, which aims to delivery 15% of the country’s electricity from renewables by 2015.