South West Marine Energy Park

South West becomes UK's first marine energy park

The South West of England has been named as the UK's first Marine Energy Park.

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker made the announcment this week during a visit to Bristol where he met with key members of the initiative.

The South West Marine Energy Park will stretch from Bristol to Cornwall and as far as the Isles of Scilly.

"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," said Mr Barker.

"The South West can build on its existing unique mix of renewable energy resource and home-grown academic, technical and industrial expertise."

The announcement establishes a 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 is 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 eight coal-fired power stations.

"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 £15 billion to the economy to 2050," Mr Barker added.

"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."

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

Chris Ridgers, cabinet member for economy at Cornwall Council, welcomed the announcement.

"Cornwall's marine energy programme is reinforced by more than a thousand years of industrial heritage," he said.

"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."

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