Newly funded projects include:
And more investment is likely to follow with the recent securing of the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal, which could see £296 million pumped into the region over the next 15 years, and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly set to receive more than £500m of EU structural funds from 2014 to 2020. Both of these programmes have stated a commitment to developing growth in the marine renewables sector, along with other key economic priority areas.
Cornwall and Plymouth already have a globally competitive offer in marine renewables, as a result of the world-class test facilities available; including the Plymouth based COAST Lab, and Cornwall based FaB Test and Wave Hub. In addition, these facilities are supported by world leading researchers from the University of Exeter and Plymouth University.
Marine renewable energy is a global market opportunity for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and this latest suite of investments will support the sector’s growth ambitions and build on the considerable assets we already have in the region. These include world-class test facilities spanning tank testing to full scale array deployment, backed by a depth of research and an established supply chain that is already exporting its expertise to other regions and around the world. Our aim is to smooth the path to commercialisation for marine renewable energy developers and ensure that we maintain a significant competitive advantage in a sector that has enormous potential for our region.
In addition to the funding announced today, and as further demonstration of the region’s commitment to this developing sector, existing South West Marine Energy Park (SWMEP) partners have committed additional funding over the next two years to enable this strategic body to continue to work with the industry across the South West, and nationally, to create the right investment environment to make commercialisation of marine energy a reality.
We have been impressed by the South West’s focus and support for the marine renewable sector. It was one of the key factors for us when deciding to move our operation to Cornwall and look to operate off Wave Hub this year. The technology pathway presents developers with a number of different challenges and I hope initiatives such as those being set up in the South West are going to help smooth the transition from early stage development through to the commercialisation stage that we are approaching.
Cornwall and Plymouth are a natural fit in the delivery of marine renewables resources. The region provides exceptional test facilities and research capabilities which we believe will result in commercial wave or floating wind devices being developed in the South West.