A Government minister called for “further and faster” progress in marine energy after announcing £20 million of funding.
Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker revealed the names of the companies who will share £20 million of funding to support two pre-commercial long term projects to demonstrate the operation of wave or tidal devices in array formation.
Speaking at the 10th annual Renewable UK Wave and Tidal Conference in London Mr Barker announced the Skerries Tidal Stream Array developed by Siemens-owned Marine Current Turbines and joint venture MeyGen in the Pentland Firth in Scotland were the winners of the Marine Energy Array Demonstrator (MEAD) scheme.
Achim Woerner, CEO of Siemens Energy Hydro and Ocean Unit, said: “We are also delighted that the Skerries project which is being developed by Sea Generation Wales Ltd (a project development company owned by Marine Current Turbines) has been selected for the £10 million Marine Energy Array Demonstration award.
“These developments confirm the viability of the SeaGen technology for larger scale deployment and the overall potential for the sector.”
The array, located off the north-west coast of Anglesey in North Wales, will consist of five SeaGen 2MW tidal stream turbines in an area between the Skerries group of rocks and islands and Carmel Head about 1km off the Anglesey coast close to the port of Holyhead.
The 10MW project is targeted to enter commercial operation in 2015 and will generate eco-friendly electricity for up to 10,000 homes in Anglesey.
MeyGen, a joint venture between investment bank Morgan Stanley, power generator International Power and tidal technology provider Atlantis Resources Corporation, will be built in two phases.
The group plans to start construction of a demonstration array of approximately six tidal energy turbines in 2014/15 as part of the first phase, which ultimately aims to produce 86MW.
MeyGen CEO Dan Pearson said: “We are delighted to be awarded this prestigious capital grant following a thorough assessment process, and we applaud Department of Energy and Climate Change 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.”
As well as announcing the competition winners, Mr Barker was keen to reaffirm the Government’s support for Marine Energy outlining three key messages for the industry.
He said: “One, this coalition government supports wind and tidal energy 110 per cent. Two, we can actually be very proud of the progress we’ve made in recent years. Three, we need to go much further. We need to go further, faster. Now is the time to for bold next steps moving from individual progress to deploying large scale arrays.”
But he warned that, despite the UK’s current position as world leaders in marine energy, other nations were catching up.
“I was in South Korea for the launch of the Green Climate Fund and I was critically aware of the interest there is in Asia,” he said. “Not only in what we are doing but they are literally snapping at our heels and it is very clear they would like to knock us off our pedestal.”
He highlighted the achievements of the sector which has seen 2GW of seabed leased for electricity generation and 10 large scale devices installed in the UK, more than rest world combined, but he warned against complacency.
“Although we are currently recognised as the marine energy world leaders, as the Prime Minister frequently tells us, we are in a global race,” he said.
“That is why, in particular in this sector of wave and tidal energy, we need to commercialise sooner, scale up quicker and do far more with the resources at our disposal. This is vital to the success of the sector. We must ensure, despite the achievements of the last 10 years, that we don’t rest on our laurels.”