Minister announces UK’s first marine energy park

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23 January 2012

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 the headquarters of Burges Salmon in Temple Quay, 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, Burges Salmon’s Head of Renewables, Ross Fairley, said: “It is a real credit to the full extent of renewables expertise and enthusiasm in the region that the South West has been chosen to take on this flagship role.

“As a firm we are committed to the marine renewables sector. We are advising on the world’s largest tidal energy project and have worked closely with UK marine developers and technology providers over a number of years. We look forward to playing our part in helping to make the South West Marine Energy Park a success.”

The South West Marine Energy Park prospectus, also launched by Greg Barker at the event, has been commissioned by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council and is produced by Regen SW.  Further information and a copy of the prospectus can be found on the Department of Energy and Climate Change website.

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