Two British companies have today been awarded a share of £20 million to help drive forward growth in the UK’s marine energy industry. MeyGen Ltd and Sea Generation Wales Ltd have both won funding under the government’s Marine Energy Array Demonstrator scheme (MEAD), launched in April last year, to support the development and testing of pre-commercial marine devices in array formations out at sea.
Marine energy has huge potential as a clean green source of power and could provide up to 20% of current UK electricity demand by 2050, as well as help cut carbon emissions and support thousands of UK jobs. More investment is needed however to enable further testing of devices and drive the sector towards commercialisation, and that’s what the MEAD scheme is designed to do.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said:
“This £20 million will give MeyGen and SeaGeneration Wales the boost they need to leap to the next level and test their innovative turbines in formations out at sea.
“These projects will provide valuable insight into how best to harness the power of the sea and take us one vital step closer to realising the full potential of marine in our future energy mix.
“The UK, with its amazing natural resource and outstanding technical know-how is already leading the way on marine power for the rest of the world to follow, and I want to ensure we stay top of this table. I am delighted that MeyGen and SeaGeneration Wales are rising to the challenge and wish them every success.”
CEO of MeyGen Ltd Dan Pearson said:
“We are delighted to be awarded this prestigious capital grant following a thorough assessment process, and we applaud DECC for its continued support of the Marine Energy sector. The grant is a ringing endorsement of our project and will be used across all construction aspects of delivering the Demonstration Phase.”
CEO of Siemens Energy Hydro & Ocean Unit Achim Wörner said:
“We are very pleased that the Skerries project being developed by Sea Generation Wales Ltd has been selected for the £10M Marine Energy Array Demonstration award.
“The Skerries project located in Anglesey, Wales, will be one of the first arrays deployed using the Siemens owned Marine Current Turbines SeaGen S tidal turbines. The marine consent for the project was recently awarded, the first tidal array to be consented in Wales. The 10MW array will be fully operational in 2015.”
Winning project details Name of company Testing location Project DetailsMeyGen LtdPentland Firth Inner Sound, ScotlandWorking with Andritz Hydro Hammerfest 1.4MW turbinesSeaGeneration (Wales) LtdAnglesey, WalesWorking with SeaGen-S 2MW turbines developed by Marine Current Turbines (MCT)
The two projects were chosen after a UK wide open competition launched in April 2012. Bids were judged on a range of criteria including the ability to generate a minimum of 7GWh per year and the use of at least three generating devices, previously demonstrated at full scale in sea conditions. Projects will be up and running by the end of March 2016.
Notes for editors
Grant awards under the government’s MEAD scheme are subject to State Aid approval by the European Commission.
The Spending Review of November 2010 announced DECC Capital funding of over £200million for low carbon technologies over four financial years, from April 2011. DECC announced the allocation of up to £20 million of this budget to support the pre-commercial demonstration of marine array devices in June 2011. Further detail on innovation funding and support is available on the GOV.UK website
To help develop and commercialise wave and tidal stream technology in the UK, the government’s Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group (LCICG), which brings together the major public-sector backed funders of low carbon innovation in the UK, work together to coordinate their activities and to maximise the impact of government investment in innovation, including marine energy. More details can be found on the Low Carbon Innovation website. Its core members include the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC); the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS); Carbon Trust; Energy Technologies Institute (ETI); Scottish Government; Scottish Enterprise; Technology Strategy Board; and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Other organisations with a key role in low carbon innovation are represented on the LCICG as associate members.
- The LCICG provides support from early stage research through to demonstration and roll out under the Renewables Obligation:
- Early stage research funding for marine energy is 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) and the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The Energy Technologies Institute, a public private organisation between global industries and the UK Government, has today [27 February 2013] launched a £1.4m project with Pelamis to boost the cost effectiveness of large scale wave energy converter arrays in the UK waters. More details can be found on the ETI website.
- Demonstration and Deployment is supported by government’s £20million Marine Array Demonstrator scheme (MEAD) and the Renewables Obligation (RO). Government has increased support for wave and tidal projects under the RO and this will take effect from April 2013.
On 18 December 2012 the European Commission announced EU funding for two UK tidal projects under its NER 300 scheme; Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) Sound of Islay Demonstration Tidal Array, 20.7m € and Marine Current Turbines (MCT) Kyle Rhea Tidal Turbine Array project, 18.4m €.
- Government supports the concept of Marine Energy Parks, a clustering of marine expertise to help speed up progress of marine power development. South West England and the Pentland Firth/Orkney Waters both launched their own Marine Energy Parks last year (2012).