The U.K. is positioning itself to be the undisputed leader in the global wave and tidal energy industry, offering itself up as a testing ground for this still-emerging technology.
The world-class testing facility at Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) already serves as proving ground for industry leaders from Rolls-Royce to ScottishPower Renewables to Kawasaki. Now, the U.K.’s Department of Environment and Climate Change has announced the creation of the country’s first commercial Marine Energy Park. The South West Marine Energy Park (MEP) will stretch southwest from the coast of Bristol and Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly—the southwesternmost tip of the U.K., in the Celtic Sea.
The project will build on the region’s £100 million investment in wave and tidal energy demonstration facilities at Wave Hub in Cornwall, and the planned FabTest site in Falmouth Harbor. These facilities provide wave and tidal energy project developers access to ports, research institutions and industrial clusters in Cornwall, Plymouth and Bristol. Like these projects, the MEP will build a collaborative partnership between national and local government, businesses and universities to accelerate marine power development in the region.
“The U.K. is already a world leader in wave and tidal power, so we should capitalize on this leadership to make marine power a real contender in the future energy market,” said Climate Change Minister Greg Barker. “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.”