Marine energy: Wave energy and tidal energy needs investment to create jobs

In a new report, RenewableUK, the trade association representing the renewable energy industry, is calling for a significant increase in investment by the UK and Scottish Governments to realise the wave and tidal sector’s massive potential. The industry predicts that the sector will be worth £3.7 billion to the UK by 2020, creating 10,000 jobs.

“Marine Energy in the UK” highlights the fact that the two Governments have so far provided less than a third of the £120 million needed for the industry to overcome the barriers to full-scale commercial development. The study notes that this support is vital, as every pound of public sector investment will unlock £6 of private investment.

David Krohn, RenewableUK’s Wave and Tidal Development Manager, said: “One step the Government could take is to allow the Green Investment Bank to support wave and tidal projects at an early stage. It’s frustrating that Ministers have not yet identified marine energy as a priority sector for the GIB”.

Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of RenewableUK said “An overly cautious approach could allow other countries to steal the UK’s lead, so it’s vital that the Scottish and UK Governments build on the good work they’ve already done by supporting the development of these industries, to ensure that we can retain our leading position globally. This will also give us an opportunity to secure a large part of the worldwide market by exporting our technology”.

The UK currently has 7.665 megawatts (MW) of wave and tidal energy installed. The UK Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap sets a target of 300MW by 2020. This will require investment of £1.5 billion.