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Marine renewables to expand underwater

Apr 30, 2009 - M2 PRESSWIRE

English and Welsh waters are to be scoped out, for the first time, for their potential to host marine energy devices. A new study will look at the potential for wave, tidal-stream and tidal range technologies around the English and Welsh coastline.

Speaking at the British Wind Energy Agency (BWEA), tidal and wave conference Lord Hunt said:

"The marine energy sector has reached a pivotal stage with more and more devices ready to go into the water. The screening exercise in English and Welsh waters is a significant step forward in our plans to harness the power of our seas and secure a renewable and low carbon energy supply."

The screening exercise will allow us to understand better the energy potential of marine energy devices and the realistic timescale of when multiple devices will be installed and commissioned. This work will also build on data already gathered for the Offshore Energy SEA, the Welsh Marine Energy Strategic Plan and other studies.

We will seek input from developers, utilities and other relevant bodies about their plans and preferred locations for developing commercial scale Marine energy farms. We will also identify any data gaps needed to put in place a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) for marine energy devices in England and Wales.

The scoping exercise will inform us on whether a full SEA for England and Wales is required. This scoping exercise will exclude the Severn Estuary as a feasibility study is already underway. Launched September 2007, the feasibility study for the Severn is assessing costs, benefits and impacts of a Severn tidal power project or projects to enable Government to decide whether or not to support a Severn tidal power scheme. A consultation on a proposed short-list of five schemes (including barrages and lagoons) for more detailed analysis this year has now closed and a government response will follow this summer

Notes to the Editors:

1. This work programme only covers England and Wales as the Scottish Government has already produced a preliminary SEA for marine energy in Scotland. Northern Ireland has also recently announced the appointment of consultants, to undertake a SEA of offshore wind and marine renewables in Northern Irish waters.

2. The screening exercise for Marine Energy devices in England and Wales will help inform a draft plan for future deployment of commercially viable proposals in English and Welsh waters.

3. The screening exercise will draw upon environmental data already gathered from the Offshore Energy SEA, the Severn Tidal SEA and the Welsh Marine Energy Strategic Plan (WMESP).

4. An SEA is required for any relevant plan or programme which relates to offshore developments in any part of the United Kingdom.

5. AEA and Hartley Anderson Ltd have been instructed to conduct the screening exercise on behalf of The Department of Energy and Climate Change. The screening exercise and route map work is expected to take a little over six months to complete.

6. The Government has already put in place a framework of measures in the UK to secure investment in the new low carbon economy. The policies announced in the Budget provide over GBP1.4 billion additional targeted support which, together with announcements made since last autumn, will enable an additional $10.4 billion of low carbon and energy investment over the next three years.

Government is allocating GBP405m through a new Low Carbon Investment Fund providing targeted support for priority sectors. This funding will provide support for close-to-market innovation through, for example, the Environmental Transformation Fund (ETF), and support for mature industry through a range of delivery mechanisms such as the Grant for Business Investment (GBI). This will create jobs and growth now, and develop the low carbon supply chain and industry for the upturn and meet our 2020 renewables targets and energy goals.

For more information on the Budget please see,

Department of Energy and Climate Change

5th Floor, 3 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2HD

CONTACT: Public enquiries, Department of Energy and Climate Change Tel: +44 (0)20 7215 4000 Tel: +44 (0)20 7215 6740 (Textphone) (for those with hearing impairment)

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Updated: 2003/07/28