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Marine fund launch unlocks key finance for UK marine renewables

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The REA warmly welcomes the launch of the Marine Renewable Proving Fund

The fund, announced by the Energy and Climate Change Minister David Kidney, at our WATTS conference in Liverpool, will provide essential support towards qualifying for the previously unattainable Marine Renewables Deployment Fund and encourage the development of commercial scale marine renewables applications across the UK.

REA’s Head of Marine, Steph Merry, said “The REA is delighted by today’s announcement. Together these funds will help the UK capitalise on its current status as world leader in marine renewable technology.”

“It is vital that the UK maintains this current lead and Government needs to give investors positive signals in order to build confidence in the sector and to support UK manufacturing and jobs. The Marine Renewable Proving Fund is an encouraging sign that Government understands the real needs of the industry, but there are more key areas that require urgent action.”

The Carbon Trust estimates that the UK’s significant Wave and Tidal resources have the potential to provide up to 20% of total UK electricity demand. Such an important contribution to the UK’s 2020 energy targets cannot be overlooked.

Further vital measures that the REA is calling for include:

• a Strategic Environmental Assessment to be urgently expedited for Wave and Tidal for the rest of the UK, (Scotland having already conducted its own) in order to allow long term leases for commercial deployment of devices and boost investor confidence
• raising the banding to 5 ROCs/MWh for Wave and Tidal under the Renewables Obligation in order to attract sufficient investment
• the inclusion of Wave and Tidal technologies under the forthcoming Feed-in-Tariff regime for projects up to 5MW in size
• ensuring the Marine Management Organisation has sufficient expertise and capacity to handle renewable project applications in a timely and expert fashion. REA is pressing for MMO staff to include a Chief Engineering

Advisor, to compliment the Chief Scientific Advisor, as required by the Marine Bill. We are also keen to have a time limit for determining applications for consent.

1. The Renewable Energy Association (REA) is the industrial body for the UK’s renewables industry. Its 600 members cover all renewable energy types and all scales from the energy majors to emerging companies in new energy technologies.
2. The UK possesses 50% of Europe’s tidal energy resource (10-15% of the global resource) and 35% of Europe’s wave energy resource.
3. The REA has been calling for a Wave and Tidal Strategic Environmental Assessment for the rest of the UK to ensure urgently required long-term leases can be granted for marine renewable developments on a commercial scale. Under present conditions The Crown Estate will only grant short-term leases for demonstration projects no larger than 10MW. This offers practically no incentive to major investment or large utilities. Scotland completed a Marine Renewables SEA in late 2007 and this has resulted in commercial developments going ahead in the Pentland Firth.

The announcement was followed by a session at the REA WATTS conference by The Carbon Trust outlining the details of the fund and the application criteria and process.

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