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Story from Marine Energy Wales

Marine Energy Wales welcomes BEIS Committee inquiry and landmark Catapult industrial benefit report

Marine Energy Wales welcome the recent announcement from BEIS and the Welsh Affairs Committee of an inquiry into the UK government’s decision-making process for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. The news comes just a week after the release of ORE Catapult’s landmark Cost Reduction and Industrial Benefit Report on wave and tidal stream.

A meeting is being held today (9th May) in Westminster during which the committees will examine the steps and stakeholders involved in the decision process and the reasons for the Government’s failure to reach a decision on whether it will support the Lagoon, since exploratory discussions with the Government began in 2013. During the meetings, MPs will take evidence from witnesses such as Charles Hendry, author of the Hendry Review published in January 2017, alongside Mark Shorrock Chief Executive of Tidal Lagoon Power.

The Swansea Tidal Lagoon project has been a tale of indecision with the government having dithered over this for five years and still to reply to the Hendry Review, published over a year ago. The government’s consistent failure to give a clear indication of whether they will provide taxpayer support has left investors in limbo. In this inquiry, we are keen to explore the decision-making process, to get clarity on the next steps for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, and how government can learn the lessons for future projects of this kind.

Rachel Reeves, BEIS committee chair

Last week ORE Catapult released their Tidal Stream and Wave Energy Cost Reduction and Industrial Benefit report which should be a landmark moment for the sector, clearly demonstrating the UK’s marine energy industries can meet the UK Government’s requirements for determining support for new technologies by achieving maximum carbon reduction, showing a clear cost reduction pathway, and demonstrating that the UK can be a world-leader in a global market.

Marine Energy is already having a positive impact in Wales, particularly in the coastal economies of Anglesey and Pembrokeshire, creating over 130 direct jobs since 2016. The activity has also provided wider positive impacts on supply chain diversification for Welsh and UK companies. The evidence-based assessment by the Catapult shows the UK’s marine energy industries can meet the requirements of the UK Government’s ‘Triple Test’, set out by Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry. What is now needed to capitalise on this opportunity, which is being backed by the devolved nations and regions is revenue support at a UK level.

David Jones, Project Director of Marine Energy Wales