News story

South West makes splash as first marine energy park

The South West has today been named as the UK’s first Marine Energy Park, firmly placing the region on the international map for leadership …

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The South West has today been named as the UK’s first Marine Energy Park, firmly placing the region on the international map for leadership in marine renewable energy.

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker made the announcement on a visit to Bristol where he met with key members of the new initiative.

The South West Marine Energy Park will stretch from Bristol through to Cornwall and as far as the Isles of Scilly. It will create a collaborative partnership in the region between national and local government, Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter and industry including Cornwall’s famous Wave Hub. The aim of the partnership will be to speed up the progress of marine power development.

Energy from the waves or tides has the potential to generate up to 27GW of power in the UK alone by 2050, equivalent to the power generated from 8 coal-fired power stations, as well as helping to reduce emissions to fight climate change.

Greg Barker said:

“This is a real milestone for the marine industry and for the South West region in securing its place in renewables history as the first official marine energy park. The South West can build on its existing unique mix of renewable energy resource and home-grown academic, technical and industrial expertise.

“Marine power has huge potential in the UK not just in contributing to a greener electricity supply and cutting emissions, but in supporting thousands of jobs in a sector worth a possible £15bn to the economy to 2050.

“The UK is already a world leader in wave and tidal power, so we should capitalise on this leadership to make marine power a real contender in the future energy market.”

During his visit, the Minister launched the South West Marine Energy Park Prospectus which outlines how the region’s public and private sector will work together with the government and other key national bodies such as the Crown Estate.

The work to develop the South West Marine Energy Park has been commissioned by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council. The work was undertaken by Regen SW.

Welcoming today’s announcement the Cabinet member for economy at Cornwall Council,** Chris Ridgers**, said:

“Cornwall’s marine energy programme is reinforced by more than a thousand years of industrial heritage. The land and the sea have provided the foundation of Cornish entrepreneurship in engineering and innovation, recognised across the world. Now, in the 21st century, Cornwall continues to provide the perfect balance between resource, people and infrastructure supporting the South West Marine Energy Park and unlocking the potential of a global industry. “

The Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Vivien Pengelly, said:

“The opportunity for growth and increased commercialisation in marine renewable energy, which underpins the ethos of the South West Marine Energy Park, represents a major opportunity to help Plymouth’s economy generate investment and jobs. Plymouth has world - class research and development expertise in this field along with a strong marine business base and advanced manufacturing sector and looks forward to working closely with its private and public sector partners to make the South West Marine Energy Park a success.”

Programme Director at Regen SW, Johnny Gowdy, said:

“The launch of the South West Marine Energy Park is a recognition of the great resources, research facilities and businesses we have in the region - it also puts the South West in a position to attract future investment, and to be at the forefront of the new global marine energy industry”

Notes to editors:

  1. South West Marine Energy Park media contacts:

Regen SW
Johnny Gowdy - Programme Director
Tel: 01392 474323 / 07976 284707
Cornwall Council
Patricia Hewitt - Media Relations’ Manager
Tel: 01872 322186
Tim German - Renewable Energy & Partnerships’ Manager
Tel: 07968 810588
**Plymouth City Council
**Jane Slavin - Corporate Communications’ Officer
Tel: 01752 304049
Stephen James - Economic Development Co-ordinator
Tel: 01752 305452

  1. The South West Marine Energy Park prospectus launched by Greg Barker has been commissioned by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council and is produced by Regen SW. A copy of the prospectus can be downloaded on the Cornwall council website.
  2. In the past seven years £100 million has been invested in the south west marine energy industry creating world leading research and demonstration facilities. Such investment has supported the development of the largest consented area for marine technologies in the world at Cornwall’s Wave Hub, the Fab-Test nursery site at Falmouth, the new marine science building at Plymouth and globally-leading research facilities at Exeter University and the National Composites Centre at Bristol.
  3. Other areas, such as in the Pentland Firth and Orkneys, are working on developing a Marine Energy Park based on their own regional strengths and activities.
  4. Government support for marine power:
  5. To help develop and commercialise wave and tidal technology, the UK has the most comprehensive marine energy support programme in the world. This provides help from the earliest stages of university research through to demonstration and roll-out under the Renewables Obligation.
  • Under the banded Renewables Obligation, the government is proposing to more than double the amount of financial support to wave and tidal stream technologies;
  • Up to £20 million from DECC’s budget of over £200 million to fund low carbon technologies, announced at the Spending Review, will help progress the development of marine devices from the current large scale prototypes to bigger formations in the sea;
  • The Government provides support across the sector with early-stage research and development funding for marine energy provided through the Research Councils’ SuperGen Marine programme. Later-stage technology development and demonstration funding is provided through various bodies, such as the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Carbon Trust and the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).
Published 23 January 2012