Marine energy development in Wales received a boost today (Thursday) with more than £300,000 funding announced for South Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone – the largest wave energy seabed lease in the world.
Speaking at today’s Marine Energy Wales conference in Swansea, Economy Secretary Ken Skates said £324,000 of EU and Welsh Government funding has been approved for a technical and commercial feasibility study – a vital next step for developing the zone.
The news comes just a week after the £1.3b Swansea Bay City Region deal was signed which includes a £76m project to establish a marine energy centre around the Port of Milford Haven for marine energy development, fabrication, testing and deployment.
Leased from the Crown Estate, the South Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone will enable technology developers to deploy and test multi-device arrays of wave energy converters, to generate up to 100MW of green electricity from the sea and act as a catalyst in the establishment of a centre for marine energy production in Wales.
The two phased study will be led by Wave Hub Ltd who are managing the site.
The Zone, one of two in Wales, covers 90 sq km area of seabed located between 13-21 kms off the South Pembrokeshire coast near the Milford Haven Waterway.
Ken Skates said: “The marine sector presents a very real and exciting opportunity for the Welsh economy and developers from around the world are showing an active interest in developing projects in Welsh waters.
“They recognise that Wales has one of the best marine energy resources and support structures to be found anywhere and the demonstrator zones will play a key role in attracting development and investment.
“The funding boost announced today also coincides with the latest report on the sector in Wales that has seen direct investment in marine energy in Wales increase from £45.5m in 2015 to £68.3m in 2017.
“To date £100m of EU funding has been secured to develop marine energy in Wales and increase the number of wave and tidal energy devices being tested in Welsh waters.
“This growing sector is already supporting supply chain diversity, creating low carbon jobs closer to home and playing a key role in creating sustainable regional economies in Pembrokeshire and Anglesey that are based on developing their own prioritised and specialised sectors.”
He told delegates that Wales’ profile as a location for marine energy has increased dramatically in recent years with Marine Energy Wales hosting visits to the Port of Milford Haven from world leading marine energy companies from the USA, Singapore, Australia, Sweden, Holland, Ireland, Italy and Scotland.
He concluded by saying that supporting the development of more renewable energy projects, including tidal lagoons, is a Welsh Government priority.
Claire Gibson, Wave Hub Ltd’s Managing Director, said: “Without the Welsh Government’s commitment to marine energy, our plans to develop this site would have stalled so we are extremely grateful for their support.
“This funding will now enable us to develop an outline design for the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone, begin the environmental assessment process, and engage with industry and local stakeholders to ensure our plans for the site are fit for purpose and take into account any local concerns.”
Dr Gareth Stockman, Managing Director, Marine Power Systems Ltd also welcomed the announcement, stating that “Marine Power Systems is delighted that the Welsh Government is investing in the new Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone.
“The dedicated wave energy area, to be positioned on the doorstep of MPS headquarters, is an ideal location for deployment of future commercial WaveSub arrays. The demonstration zone will undoubtedly attract interest and investment in the region, firmly putting Wales on the map as a global leader in wave energy.’
Project Director of Marine Energy Wales, David Jones, said: “Wave Hub’s extensive experience in developing and operating test sites will be of huge benefit in progressing the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone and is another step forward for the sector in Wales. We are looking forward to continuing our collaborative approach with them to develop marine energy in Wales.”
Original Article by Western Telegraph.