A new report by the Crown Estate highlighting the fantastic wave and tidal energy resources around the UK and south west has been welcomed today by the south west marine energy industry.The research, carried out by The Crown Estate in association with Regen SW and devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, identifies that there are significant wave resources off the north Cornwall coast and the largest single area of tidal energy resource in the UK in the Bristol channel. The report, which focused on the maximum available resource potential in each region, concludes that if these resources are developed wave and tidal energy could contribute substantially to the UK’s electricity needs.
Johnny Gowdy, programme director at Regen SW commented:
“This report confirms previous analysis that there is significant wave and tidal resources which could be developed around our coast. Regen SW and the South West Marine Energy Park will now be working with the Crown Estate and the industry to bring forward projects to realise this potential energy source and create jobs in the region.”
While the energy resource estimates in the Crown Estate report are much larger than previous studies which looked more closely at development constraints, the immediate priority for the south west is to support the first small scale commercial marine energy projects which are likely to be 10-30 MW projects and to build on the fantastic demonstrations sites we have such as Wave Hub, Lynmouth and the Fab Test.
The Bristol Channel has again been identified as a key resource area of national significance. The challenge is to harness this unique energy source in a way which is cost effective and minimises the impact on the complex marine habitat of the estuary and other users of the sea. As previous studies have shown a single big barrage scheme is probably not the answer because of the costs, environmental risks and impacts on other industries such as Bristol Port. A more balanced approach is needed to deploy mixed technologies which can harness significant energy and create jobs in harmony with the marine environment.
Claire Gibson, general manager of Wave Hub commented:
“The Crown Estate report confirms our understanding of the significant wave and tidal resource off the South West coast. With the Crown Estate’s support some of this resource is relatively easy to exploit. By capitalising on the existence of Wave Hub and the South West Marine Energy Park, we can enable the commercial deployment of marine energy technology and realise the South West’s potential to play an important part in this emerging industry. We look forward to working with The Crown Estate to make this a reality.”
Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW, commented:
“As this report shows the south west is fortunate to have excellent natural energy resources. This includes the wind and sun as well as wave and tidal. By harnessing the potential of all of these resources we have the opportunity to put secure local generation energy at the heart of our future prosperity.“