UK government selected six best marine technologies

Marine energy will be ready for mass scale deployment and an important new commercial UK industry by 2020 says the Carbon Trust, as it announces the six most promising technologies that will receive new funding to speed up the deployment of full scale prototypes of their leading designs.

Marine energy is currently ten years behind offshore wind energy in its development, but according to the Carbon Trust costs can be dramatically reduced over the next ten years, which could see up to a thousand devices operating in the water by 2020. Today the Carbon Trust announced the six most promising technologies that will be supported with £22m of new funding. Designed and managed by the Carbon Trust, the Marine Renewable Proving Fund (MRPF) uses new funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The MRPF marks a new level of commitment to developing wave and tidal technologies by helping the UK’s most promising technologies to progress towards early stage deployment and accelerating the first commercial projects in UK waters.

Following a rigorous assessment process, the Carbon Trust has selected Atlantis Resources, Aquamarine Power, Hammerfest Strom UK, Marine Current Turbines, Pelamis Wave Power and Voith Hydro to receive support. Set against a shortage of funding in the sector, the new finance will bridge a funding-gap that was stifling progress, creating more certainly around the technical performance of each technology which will trigger increased confidence in the sector.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: "The UK must urgently diversify, decarbonise and secure its energy sources and marine energy could over time provide up to 20% of the UK’s electricity. Generating electricity from the UK’s powerful wave and tidal resource not only plays a crucial role in meeting our climate change targets but also presents a significant economic opportunity for the UK. Wave alone presents a £2 billion economic opportunity for the UK.”

The demonstration of full scale devices at sea is central to realising the full potential of marine energy and getting the first commercial projects in the water is critical to ‘de-risk’ the technology and attract the necessary private sector investment. This is the start of major new industry that will generate jobs and wealth across the UK.”

Lord Hunt of King’s Heath, Minister of State for Energy, said: “Our seas are a fantastic asset that could generate the kind of clean, green and home-grown wave and tidal power that will boost our transition to a low carbon economy. With our excellent wave and tidal resources – the richest in Europe – and our expertise in oil and gas exploration, we are world leaders in this field. We need to continue to encourage innovation and ingenuity in the sector, which is why I am pleased to congratulate the six successful projects that will receive funding totalling £22m to help accelerate the development of their leading technology.”

Carbon Trust analysis shows that 25% of the world’s wave and tidal technologies are being developed in the UK. Marine energy is an emerging industry with massive growth potential and each successful technology is competing for a stake in what will be a major growth industry. All of the devices receiving MRPF funding will be deployed in UK waters, which will stimulate supply chain opportunities associated with construction and deployment of these technologies. Over 75% of the funding released through the MRPF will go to the UK supply chain.

The Carbon Trust which has been supporting the marine sector since 2003 has assessed or worked with over 60 different marine energy devices and committed over £12m of funding to date. Some of the designs receiving MRPF funding have already undergone testing at the European Marine Energy Sector which is part-funded by the Carbon Trust.

Greenpeace Executive Director, John Sauven commented: “Marine renewable technologies are cutting edge and the UK is in pole position to lead the innovation and commercialisation of this secure energy source, which will keep our economy competitive. The Carbon Trust grants will give a much needed boost and to build on them we need all political parties to show their full commitment to achieving Britain’s renewable energy targets.”

Developer Quotes:

Max Carcas, Business Development Director, Pelamis Wave Power. “Pelamis Wave Power and our partners on this project E.on are delighted to have won such a significant award to support the manufacture, deployment and testing of our second generation Pelamis ‘P2’ machine. The P2 encompasses both our real at-sea operating experience with the first generation of machines, and a number of major technical innovations to improve manufacturability and enhance economic performance. The funding allocated today will both accelerate deployment of the machine in Orkney this year, and increase the scope and pace of trials through to March 2011. The MRPF scheme represents a timely step-change in the levels and nature of support available from the UK Government, and is certain to both accelerate industry progress and to further cement the lead currently enjoyed by the sector in this country”.

Mike Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Atlantis said: "Atlantis is pleased to have been awarded a grant from the Marine Renewables Proving Fund. These funds are crucial to the successful development of our industry leading one megawatt AK-1000(tm) turbine. With the support of the Carbon Trust, Atlantis will continue to take significant steps during the next 12 months towards the deployment of commercial scale tidal power farms in UK waters."

Martin McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of Aquamarine Power, said: “We’d like to thank the Carbon Trust and DECC for this funding and their contribution to the marine energy industry in the UK. This funding is just one of a whole raft of ways that they have supported Aquamarine at various stages in the growth of our business. The Carbon Trust, in particular, should be commended for the highly efficient way in which the scheme has been designed and managed, combining thorough due-diligence with a quick turnaround in assessing applications and allocating funding. This is of vital importance to protect the marine energy industry’s most precious commodity – time.”

The MRPF will accelerate the leading and most promising marine devices towards the point where they can qualify for the Governments existing Marine Renewable Deployment Fund (MRDF) support scheme and, ultimately, be deployed commercially at scale. The scheme will lead to faster progress in the marine energy sector and lower risk investment propositions for the private sector – driving the sector towards large scale deployment.

Hammerfest Strøm UK’s Managing Director Fraser McCreadie said: “The MRPF grant is very welcome in assisting the prototype development of the HS1000 device which is expected to be fully operational in Orkney by 2011. After a test period, the company will work with ScottishPower Renewables who have plans to install the device as part of a 10MW tidal power array in the Sound of Islay by 2012. The Norwegian parent company intends to raise a further £12 million for further commercial development of the company.”

The Carbon Trust

* The Carbon Trust is an independent company set up in 2001 by Government in response to the threat of climate change, to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy by working with organisations to reduce carbon emissions and develop commercial low carbon technologies.
* We cut carbon emissions now by giving business and the public sector expert advice, finance and certification to help them reduce their carbon footprint and to stimulate demand for low carbon products and services. Through our work, we’ve already helped save over 23 million tonnes of carbon, delivering costs savings of around £1.4 billion. We aim to help our customers cut a further 17MtCO2 and save another £1 billion in the next three years.
* We cut future carbon emissions by developing new low carbon technologies. We are helping the UK become a global hub for low carbon innovation. We do this through funding and managing projects, investing and collaborating on low carbon technologies and by identifying market barriers and practical ways to overcome them. Our work on commercialising new technologies will deliver savings of up to 23 million tonnes of carbon a year by 2050.