Written By: Emma Websdale
At this week’s Ocean Energy Europe annual conference, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker announced that the Technology Strategy Board will invest £7 million in offshore renewable infrastructure in an attempt to lower the overall cost of ocean energy generation.
The new £7 million ($11.2 million) investment, announced this week in Edinburgh, will be available through the Technology Strategy Board’s Infrastructure for Offshore Renewables funding competition. The investment is an attempt to drive down the sector’s cost of electricity generation, one of the main challenges currently facing developers of offshore technologies.
“This £7 million is a real boost for low-carbon innovation and will help businesses develop cutting-edge technologies to support our offshore renewables industry”, says Greg Barker. “Targeting funding in this way will accelerate growth in this sector, help cut the cost of producing clean green power, and ultimately enable us to harness even more power from wind and marine devices out at sea.”
Helping to develop supply chains for offshore renewables, the competition also calls for companies outside of the ocean-energy sector to contribute their specific expertise and ideas to the field.
Funding will be awarded to collaborative research-and-development (CR&D) projects with a focus on reducing the cost of electricity generation via innovative technologies in the offshore wind, wave, and tidal-stream industries.
Speaking at this week’s European Ocean Energy annual conference, Barker said, “This is a great example of the type of investment that this government has been making in the marine sector over the years.”
Barker commented on other examples in which the UK has been supporting the marine sector, including a Tidal Energy Converter project, from Scottish developer Pelamis, and a £6million ($9.6million) grant to open Edinburgh’s FloWave test tank.
“The UK government has also, to date, invested over £28 million in our world-class testing facilities at EMEC, WaveHub, NaRec, and FabTest. We are proud to [include] devices from across Europe and soon from across the globe at these centers”, Barker added.
Closing his speech, Barker said that collaboration and strong partnerships across the ocean industry were crucial for Europe to win the race for the development of ocean energy.
“As with all such races, others will challenge our leadership. But winning this race will bring global rewards and open world-wide future opportunities to the sector”, said Barker. “I believe that working together, within the UK and across Europe, governments and industry together, we can make this pioneering European industry lead the way globally.”
This week’s European Ocean Energy conference also included the announcement of a new Ocean Energy Forum—a technology and innovation platform with a goal of encouraging research and funding into the ocean energy sector.